World Shakespeare Festival

A celebration of Shakespeare as the world's playwright, produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company in an unprecedented collaboration with leading UK and international arts organisations. The World Shakespeare Festival was part of the Cultural Olympiad and the London 2012 Festival.

We supported international co-productions from Brazil, Mexico, Iraq, Russia and Tunisia, as well as a related education programme, Shakespeare: A Worldwide Classroom.

  • Iraqi Theatre Company 'Romeo and Juliet in Baghdad'. Photo: Ellie Kurttz
  • Companhia BufoMecânica 'Two Roses for Richard III'. Photo: Emmanuelle Bernard
  • World Shakespeare Festival workshop. Photo by Stewart Hemsley. © Royal Shakespeare Company
  • World Shakespeare Festival workshop. Photo by Stewart Hemsley. © Royal Shakespeare Company

Shakespeare: A Worldwide Classroom

A British Council and Royal Shakespeare Company educational partnership connecting artists, teachers and young people in the UK, Brazil, Czech Republic, Hong Kong, India, Oman, South Africa and the USA. The programme was developed as a result of research commissioned by the British Council and the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2011, which revealed that 50% of the world’s school children study Shakespeare.

Worlds Together
6-8 September 2012 at Tate Modern

An international conference for teachers explored the value of Shakespeare and the arts in the lives of young people. The conference had two strands: one which explored the world-wide influence of Shakespeare in education and examined some examples of best teaching practice; the other gave a broader view of the contemporary arts education landscape.

We supported the creation of several productions within the World Shakespeare Festival, including co-productions with the Royal Shakespeare Company from Brazil, Mexico, Iraq, Russia and Tunisia:

Two Roses for Richard III
7 - 12 May 2012 @ Courtyard Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
18 - 23 May @ Roundhouse, London

Two Roses for Richard III, produced by Brazil’s Companhia BufoMecânica combined Shakespeare’s text with circus, multimedia, visual metaphor and aerial choreography. Renato Rocha of Companhia BufoMecânica also developed a new piece inspired by Shakespeare’s tragedies, The Dark Side of Love, which was performed by a cast of local teenagers in an atmospheric underground space at the Roundhouse. In addition, the British Council and the RSC worked with partners in Brazil on an education programme to explore what Shakespeare means to young people in the contemporary era.

Watch the Dark Side of Love production here on The Space.

Romeo and Juliet in Baghdad
26 April - 5 May 2012 @ Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
27 - 30 June @ LIFT at Riverside Studios, London

Romeo and Juliet was adapted by Monadhil Daood for Baghdad’s Iraqi Theatre company. Set against conflict between families, communities and generations, and infused with Iraq’s rich traditions of poetry, music and ritual, this was Romeo and Juliet for a new generation. In Arabic with English subtitles, the piece was first performed to audiences in Baghdad before touring the UK and Qatar.

Watch the making of Romeo and Juliet here on The Space.

A Soldier in Every Son – An Aztec Trilogy
29 June - 28 July 2012 @ Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

Inspired by Shakespeare’s historical plays and directed by Luis Mario Moncada, passion, power and intrigue are played out in a political thriller in three parts, spanning a century of Aztec history. Co-produced by the Compania Nacional de Teatro de Mexico and Royal Shakespeare Company, in Spanish with English subtitles.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (As You Like It)
10 - 18 August 2012 @ Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
24 - 26 August 2012 @ Edinburgh International Festival 

One of the most original talents of his generation, Russian director and artist Dmitry Krymov presented his remarkable and visually-striking interpretation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Macbeth: Leïla and Ben – A Bloody History
4 - 7 July 2012 @ LIFT at Riverside Studios, London
12 - 14 July 2012 @ Northern Stage, Newcastle/Gateshead

Shakespeare’s vision of evil and ambition found new resonance in a production by Tunisia's Artistes, Producteurs, Associés, adapted by Lotfi Achour and Anissa Daoud. Combining Shakespeare’s text with film and reportage in a production inspired by the tumultuous events of the Arab Spring, Shakespeare’s malevolent tyrant and his wife are reincarnated as an equally diabolical modern-day duo.



  • Stratford-upon-Avon, UK

    26th Apr 2012 - 18th Aug 2012
  • Edinburgh, UK

    24th Aug 2012 - 26th Aug 2012

    Edinburgh International Festival

  • London, UK

    18th May 2012 - 7th Jul 2012
  • Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK

    12th Jul 2012 - 14th Jul 2012

    Northern Stage
    Barras Bridge
    Tyne and Wear
    NE1 7RH

  • London, UK

    18th May 2012 - 23rd May 2012

    Chalk Farm Road
    NW1 8EH

  • Stratford-upon-Avon, UK

    7th May 2012 - 12th May 2012

    The Courtyard Theatre
    Southern Lane
    Warwickshire CV37 6BB

  • Stratford-upon-Avon, UK

    26th Apr 2012 - 5th May 2012

    Swan Theatre
    Southern Lane
    Warwickshire CV37 6BB

  • Stratford-upon-Avon

    29th Jun 2012 - 18th Aug 2012

    Royal Shakespeare Theatre
    CV37 6BB

  • London, UK

    27th Jun 2012 - 7th Jul 2012

    Riverside Studios
    Crisp Road
    London W6 9RL

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