Was Shakespeare a product of his age or ‘for all time’, as Ben Jonson claimed? Is it appropriate to treat Shakespeare as separate from all other writers? Who does Shakespeare’s work belong to? And ultimately, what kind of Shakespeare do we want?
Our MA Shakespeare and Creativity students have been exploring these questions and more through their project, Shakespeare Unbard, which culminated in an interactive performance in Front-of-House areas of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, on Friday 13 December 2013.
The 30-minute performance, which explored how societies over time have celebrated Shakespeare, and his relevance to individuals and communities today, was scripted, directed and performed by the seven students who started the new MA programme in September 2013, with support from the Events and Exhibitions team at the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). In the weeks leading up to the event, the students had weekly meetings with staff in the RSC’s Events and Exhibitions team to hone and rehearse the content, and the costumes used in the performance came courtesy of the RSC's Costume Department.
Having attracted a substantial audience and a glowing review on the Huffington Post, the group are now exploring opportunities to reprise their performance in other locations. For more information, follow @ShakesUnbard on Twitter or visit the Shakespeare Unbard Facebook page.