Everyman hosts tribute to Shakespeare

Share Button

Brilliant Bard at the Everyman. Pic © Tiarnan Quigley JMU Journalism

A series of events in Liverpool’s Everyman Theatre is aiming to tackle William Shakespeare’s perceived lack of relevance in today’s society.

The Brilliant Bard Festival is designed to appeal to enthusiasts and young children alike through several means, including enthralling light-hearted performances filled with audience participation and also serious discussions about the Shakespeare’s works.

The event, which runs from March 2nd until March 9th, was the brainchild of Everyman’s Learning Manager, Alan Williams, who told JMU Journalism that he also wanted to challenge public perceptions of Shakespeare’s works in a number of ways.

He said: “People have been asking questions in terms of the relevance of Shakespeare. What they are looking at is how Shakespeare can be delivered, we’ve had two productions here that have turned them upside down.

“We had Romeo and Julius and Othello that had a black female Othello that won great acclaim. Golda Rosheuvel was nominated for the best actor of the year, the performance was outstanding, but it also shed a new light on these productions.”

YouTube: Tiarnan Quigley

Alan discussed the issues surrounding how to present the dark themes of Shakespeare to young children, saying: “When we tend to put Shakespeare on our interpretation is much darker which means we have to put a 12 rating on the performance and therefore we’re precluding our audiences. I am passionate that I think young children should hear the language of Shakespeare and I don’t think it’s patronising to deliver that language. I don’t like the idea of Shakespeare being dumbed down. I think you can carefully deliver Shakespeare to all ages.”

He spoke about how schools could do more to make the literary works appeal to a younger audience: “My concern is that too many children are introduced to Shakespeare via the text in a classroom when they open a textbook.

“In my experience, children are only interested when they have a teacher who is highly enthusiastic, motivated and can bring it to life. There are teachers who do that but they are in a minority. I think everybody deserves to come to understand Shakespeare rather than be bored to death by him.”

Full a full lust of the Brilliant Bard events visit the Everyman and Playhouse website here.

About Tiarnan Quigley, JMU Journalism