Research conducted by the British Council and the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in December 2011 found that over half the world’s school children study Shakespeare. In response to this research the RSC and the British Council set out to explore where, how and why Shakespeare is taught around the world as part of the World Shakespeare Festival (WSF).
At the heart of our partnership was an ambitious and wide-ranging project, Shakespeare: A Worldwide Classroom, in which we established international partnerships between schools in the UK with teachers, students and artists in Brazil, Czech Republic, Hong Kong, India, Oman, South Africa and the USA. Over 1,000 participants took part in exploring new approaches to teaching Shakespeare and 200 young people worked to achieve Arts Award certificates. The core schools in the programme plan to continue their international partnerships independently beyond 2012.
A ‘Wiki Shakespeare’ was set up to develop a global understanding of how the world teaches Shakespeare. Currently, 65 countries are represented on ‘Wiki Shakespeare’. This community database is constantly evolving. For the most up-to-date information please visit www.worldshakespearefestival.org.uk/wiki/
In addition, 400 people including participants, presenters, artists and young people from the seven countries reunited at the Worlds Together event. Worlds Together, a collaboration between Tate Modern, RSC, the National Theatre and British Museum, was an international conference for artists and educators exploring the value of Shakespeare and the arts in the lives of young people.
We are currently exploring the legacy of these projects and developing an education programme for 2014-16 which marks the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth (2014) and the 400th anniversary of his death (2016). Shakespeare 2014-16 will build on the work of how the world teaches Shakespeare.