There’s a worldwide summer of Shakespeare coming in 2016, as fans across the globe gear up to celebrate the Bard’s 400th anniversary year. We’ve put together a map of key locations from Shakespeare’s life, work and legacy – and it includes some quirky and little-known tributes to the great man, from private Elizabethan-style theatres to unusual interpretations of his work.
Here are a few to check out on your travels:
Othello: The Remix
Where? Back in Chicago, US, after touring the world
What? The Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s ‘remix’ of Othello has met with near-universal acclaim, winning plaudits from critics in the UK as well as the US and scooping multiple awards. Developed with Chicago hip-hop act The Q Brothers, it not only puts Othello in an urban setting but also adds rapping, breakdancing and scratching to the mix. This genuine original is back at its home theatre for a short run as part of Chicago’s Shakespeare400 celebrations. Catch it while you can!
The Shakespeare Room, State Library of New South Wales
Where? Sydney, Australia
What? The State Library’s Shakespeare Room is a small, ornate chamber created to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death – which makes it 100 years old this year. Features include carved wood panelling, intricate plasterwork on the ceiling and a stained glass window that depicts the famous ‘seven ages of man’ speech from As You Like It. Usually used as a function room, the Shakespeare Room will be open to the public for a week in mid-April as part of the library’s Shakespeare400 celebrations.
The Curtain Theater
Where? Austin, USA
What? A replica Elizabethan theatre in the heart of Texas, built by a video game developer? It sounds hard to believe, but that’s exactly what The Curtain Theater is. The games developer Richard Garriott had it built on his property after seeing a play at The Globe in London. Today The Curtain is home to local theatre company The Baron’s Men and is also used by the Austin Shakespeare organisation.
Shakespearean Jazz Show
Where? Boston (and on tour), USA
What? Exactly what it sounds like. This youthful ensemble, put together by Boston-based students Alex Ates and Patrick Greeley, delivers an inventive show that mixes Shakespeare’s words with New Orleans-style jazz. It’s surprisingly effective, and comes complete with dancers, fancy costumes, acting and even a dash of shadow puppetry to help bring the Bard’s words to life.
Where? Newcastle, UK
What? In the Heaton area of Newcastle, you’ll find a house which for the most part looks much like many other urban homes in England, but on the gable end there is a huge image of William Shakespeare made out of coloured bricks. The modern portrait is based on Martin Droeshout’s famous engraving of 1623.
Paper Project: Shakespeare
Where? Birmingham, UK
What? Theatre design students at Birmingham City University have joined in the Shakespeare400 celebrations by getting creative with paper and card. Head to the university’s Parkside building to see life-size models of characters, locations and settings from Shakespeare’s life and work. They include a three-metre-high version of the balcony from Romeo and Juliet!
Of course, if you’re looking for more straightforward ways to celebrate the Bard, you’ll find plenty going on throughout 2016, particularly at Shakespeare’s Globe in London and around the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s properties in Stratford-upon-Avon. Check the map for more details of what’s on and where!