The British Council in association with BBC announces ‘Shakespeare Day Live on April 23rd 2016’

Leading arts organisations across the UK will make available performances, analysis, talks and fun, all streamed on Shakespeare Day Live, a digital pop-up channel co-curated by the BBC and the British Council which kicks off Shakespeare Lives, a six month online festival available to audiences in the UK, India and across the globe. 

A dazzling array of actors, musicians and artists including Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellen, David Tennant, Dame Carol Ann Duffy, Adrian Lester, Germaine Greer, Ralph Fiennes, Simon Russell Beale,Lauren Cuthbertson and EdwardWatson, the BBC Scottish Symphony and the BBC Concert Orchestras together with new work inspired by Shakespeare from young artists from across the UK and Europe is featured on Shakespeare Day Live which launches Shakespeare Lives, a six month online festival marking the 400th anniversary of the death of the Bard.

· Suzy Klein, Ore Oduba, Matthew Sweet, Sara Mohr-Pietsch, Andy Akinwolere, JamieMcDougalland Katie Derhamwill presentthe online celebration of Shakespeare, 
co-curated by theBBC and the British Counciland co-ordinated by the Shakespeare digital team based in Birmingham.

· Shakespeare Day Live will feature special contributions from the Royal Opera House, Shakespeare’s Globe,the BFI, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Hay Festival and the Royal Shakespeare Company, broadcast online at

· Shakespeare Day Live will inaugurate Shakespeare Lives - a six month online festival, which will bring together a remarkable collection of interpretations of Shakespeare’s work in one digital space, for audiences in the UK and around the world to experience.

· Highlights of Shakespeare Lives will be made available on BBC iPlayer - the first time programmes from not-for-profit arts organisations will have been brought to wider audiences through the BBC.

Shakespeare Day Live will be delivered by a team of presenters from locations across the UK and available to watch anywhere in the world.

Highlights of Shakespeare Day Liveinclude:
· Three visits to Shakespeare’s Globeon Bankside in London, as the cast and crew of Hamlet return from a two-year round the world tour and prepare for their homecoming performances. There will also be a showcase ofthe Complete Walk: 37 screens playing a series of specially-made films,with stars including Mel Giedroyc, MeeraSyal and Peter Capaldi, along a 2.5 mile route between Westminster and Tower Bridge

· Simon Russell Bealeand Adrian Lester explore Shakespeare’s most challenging role: Hamlet.
· An online exclusive of David Tennant’s acclaimed performance as Richard II staged by the RSC 

Graham Sheffield, Director Arts, British Council, says: “Shakespeare is loved and performed all over the world. He remains the UK's single most significant cultural figure 400 years after his death, a remarkable feat in itself! In the contemporary context his work enables the exploration of complex issues and develops stronger relationships between Britain and the world.We are delighted that with GREAT Britain campaign support, we are able to see the work of so many great artists and organisations from the UK shared with the world through our new partnership with the BBC.”

Tony Hall, Director-General of the BBC, says: “This weekend we’re experimenting live with digital formats like never before. Alongside a fantastic line up on radio and television, we’re hosting a digital festival, shaped with partners, to bring their creativity to millions here and the world over. And, for the first time, the BBC will be showcasing the great talent we have in our leading cultural institutions on BBC iPlayer. It’s another step towards an open BBC – something we all believe in.”

BBC iPlayer
As part of the BBC’s plans to provide a richer service to audiences and help foster growth in the creative industries, on the 23rd April a curated mix of programmes from not-for-profit arts organisations involved in the six month Shakespeare Lives festival – the British Film Institute, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Hay Festival, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Shakespeare’s Globe and the Royal Opera Housewill be made available to audiences for the first time on BBC iPlayer.

Programmes will include: 
• Shakespeare on Stage, Screen and Elsewhere, with Ian McKellen: a British Film Institute production, in which Ian McKellen shares his unique insights into the problems and joys of interpreting Shakespeare for the theatre, television, radio and cinema.

• David Tennant’s performance as Richard II in the latest production of the play from the Royal Shakespeare Company.

• A performance at Holy Trinity Church, where Shakespeare is buried, by Ex Cathedra of ‘A Shakespeare Masque – a contemporary Ode to Shakespeare’, written by the Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, with music composed by Sally Beamish.

• A celebration of the cast and crew of Hamlet, produced by Shakespeare’s Globe, as they return to bankside after a two-year round the world tour.

• Breakfast with the Bard: in collaboration with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Suzy Klein and guests give an exclusive preview of the newly commissioned artworks and archaeology shaping the story of Shakespeare’s New Place for the 21st century.

• Ballet, Opera and the Bard: an exploration of Shakespeare in ballet and opera provided by the Royal Opera House.

· iPlayer will also showcase selected complete Shakespeare sessions from this year’s Hay Festival.

About the British Council 
The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide. We work in more than 100 countries and our 8,000 staff – including 2,000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year by teaching English, sharing the arts and delivering education and society programmes. We are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter. A core publicly-funded grant provides 16 per cent of our turnover which last year was £973 million. The rest of our revenues are earned from services which customers around the world pay for, such as English classes and taking UK examinations, and also through education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. All our work is in pursuit of our charitable purpose and supports prosperity and security for the UK and globally. 

For more information, please visit: . You can also keep in touch with the British Council through and

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