A 21st century digital view of Shakespeare

17 January 2013

Exploring Shakespeare through everyday news stories is one of the final creations to go live on myShakespeare, the digital platform created for the World Shakespeare Festival.

To Be Today, created by artist, Brendan Dawes, explores Shakespeare through news stories, taking BBC online content and combining it with a database of Shakespeare quotes. The result illustrates how Shakespeare's words can convey the stories we see in the news each day. http://myshakespeare.worldshakespearefestival.org.uk/gallery/tobetoday

Talking about the work Brendan said,
'Living in a world where so much seems fragile, transient and throwaway, the words of Shakespeare still seem as relevant today as they ever were. It was this thought that inspired me to make something that would put into a real-time context the famous and not so famous phrases from Shakespeare's work. I asked myself what if those Shakespearean phrases that we hear so much could be super-imposed on to the events of the day, giving modern context to Shakespeare and introducing new audiences to his words through the context of rolling news.'

myShakespeare, which is supported by BP, explores 'how we should interpret Shakespeare today' and asks artists from around the world to create their own responses. Since its launch in April last year the platform has hosted pieces from London based poet, Kate Tempest, US playwright and MC, Will Power, and students from Central St Martins' College of Art and Design, all offering a fresh look at Shakespeare.

Sarah Ellis, Producer of myShakespeare, said,
'Every day people from around the world are creating, sharing and commenting on user generated content that refers to Shakespeare online. Over the course of the Festival 'Shakespeare' was searched on Google over 52 million times illustrating the popularity and interest in this writer from Stratford-upon-Avon who lived over 400 years ago.

'We wanted to create a digital platform which connected the Shakespeare community and provided a platform for people across the world to search and share information on Shakespeare through Flickr, Twitter and Ebay. You can find out what's being said about him in the digital world at that particular time, to explore it and interrogate it and more importantly share it.

'myShakespeare is a collaborative project where artists can also reinterpret Shakespeare for the modern day. It's shown us that there's a potential in the online space to share work in progress. Ideas, thoughts and concepts can be interrogated and explored by artists alongside audiences. As long as we're excited, inspired and we find the new ways of interpreting his text and stories, Shakespeare will have a place in our future.'

Other recent commissions on myShakespeare include:

The series of Billy Bloggerels by Billy Shakespeare from Brother's McLeod a collection of eight blogs about where ideas come from.
http://myshakespeare.worldshakespearefestival.org.uk/category/billy-shakespeare/

Tim Etchells' Be Stone No More features four, 20 minute films which share the plot of a Shakespeare plays through items on a table-top. http://myshakespeare.worldshakespearefestival.org.uk/gallery/be-stone-no-more-a-tabletop-shakespeare-by-tim-etchells/

Matthew Somerville, creator of teatricalia.com, created a website-based data visualisation which charts the productions of the World Shakespeare Festival across the country from the Shipwreck Trilogy in Stratford-upon-Avon and London at the Roundhouse, Forests at the Birmingham Rep, or Y Storm (The Tempest) at the National Eisteddfod of Wales. http://myshakespeare.worldshakespearefestival.org.uk/gallery/quintessence-of-dust-by-matthew-somerville/

Spirits Melted Into Air by technologist and designer, Tom Armitage, explores an actors' movement on stage during two individual scenes or speeches from the 2012 productions of Richard III and The Comedy of Errors generating data-visualisations of the actors' motion during them. http://myshakespeare.worldshakespearefestival.org.uk/gallery/spirits-melted-into-air-by-tom-armitage/

Ends

For further information contact Jane Ellis at jane.ellis@rsc.org.uk or 07966 295 032.

Notes to editors:

Kate Tempest poem http://myshakespeare.worldshakespearefestival.org.uk/gallery/my-shakespeare-by-kate-tempest/#more-434

Will Power poem http://myshakespeare.worldshakespearefestival.org.uk/gallery/will-power/

For more information on Brendan Dawes visit http://brendandawes.com/

www.myshakespeare.worldshakespearefestival.org.uk

About BP and its cultural support in the UK - BP's support for arts and culture goes back more than 30 years and includes long-term partnerships with the British Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Royal Opera House and Tate Britain. As a Premier Partner of the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival, BP is continuing its commitment to UK arts and culture. Working with LOCOG and its arts partners, BP is helping to deliver several programmes and events that will inspire young people and provide opportunities for everyone across the UK to be part of London 2012. These include: the World Shakespeare Festival with the British Museum and Royal Shakespeare Company; BP Portrait Award: Next Generation with the National Portrait Gallery; The Olympic Journey: The Story of the Games with the Royal Opera House and The Olympic Museum; and The Tate Movie Project with Tate, Legacy Trust UK and the BBC.

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