If you taught based on a text book from 400 years ago, you would probably teach students that the earth is flat. The world we live in today is quite different from that of the 17th century. Yet the works of Shakespeare seem to stay relevant, whether people are cruising around in horse and buggies or on hoverboards. As we approach the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, his plays are still read in classrooms all over the world, performed in front of live audiences, and regularly adapted for television and the silver screen.
William Shakespeare was born in 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon (yes, that’s the real name of a town) in England. He spent the majority of his adulthood living, writing, and working in London, where he established the famous Globe Theatre. He then returned to Stratford in 1616 where he spent his final days in his hometown. In those short 52 years, Shakespeare managed to bang out 37 of the AD era’s greatest hits ─ everything from Romeo and Juliet to Macbeth. Like many famous artists, his work was not nearly as prominent during his lifetime as it is in the modern world. But today, Shakespeare’s name is recognized all over the world. So to celebrate his life, the cast and crew of the Globe Theatre are doing something very special: a Globe Theatre world tour.
A team of actors and crew members have set out to perform one of Shakespeare’s most highly acclaimed plays, Hamlet, in every country in the world. Yes, that’s right. Every. Single. Country. Why Hamlet? “It is an iconic play, instantly recognizable anywhere. It has that capacity to question, to challenge, to inspire in any country in the world,” says Drominic Dromgoole, the play’s Artistic Director.
The two year voyage began on April 23, 2014 at the Globe Theatre. And after bringing the words of Shakespeare to every corner of the globe (pun intended), the performers will conclude their remarkable journey right back where they started next month.
So what makes Shakespeare’s work so great? It may be the characters, or plot twists. But most would probably say his plays are so widely celebrated for his ability to portray some of the most powerful human emotions – love, jealousy, vengeance – in a way that never goes out style.
“Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once.” Come on…whose writing lines like that today? Nobody! Billy Shakespeare had some game.
See the lights dim and the curtain rise with EF Educational Tours, as you and your students delve into the inner workings of Shakespeare’s theater company on EF’s Curtain Time in London tour!