All the World’s a Stage at The London Book Fair
Shakesperience Celebrates the Bard’s Impact around the Globe
From multi-lingual performances of some of Shakespeare’s most-loved works, to retellings of his plays by esteemed authors Howard Jacobson, Jeanette Winterson and Tracey Chevalier, The London Book Fair is hosting a raft of celebrations at this year’s Fair to mark the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death.
Honouring Shakespeare’s enduring impact on the global publishing industry and wider creative arts, LBF – which marks its own 45th anniversary this year – is launching ‘The Shakesperience’, with events taking place throughout The London Book Fair (12 – 14 April) and London Book & Screen Week (11 – 17 April).
Act I: Inside the Fair
A mini ‘Globe’ performance space will be erected inside Kensington Olympia during the Fair, where authors and Shakespearian actors from around the world will perform sonnets and extracts in six languages – Chinese, Spanish, Polish, Hindi, Arabic and English – in recognition of the bard’s influence around the world. There will also be a specially commissioned Chinese play depicting Tang Xianzhu’s Peony Pavilion and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, performed both in Chinese and English on Tuesday 12 April at 4pm.
Visitors will have the chance to have their picture taken with Shakespeare in a hologram photo booth, or they can visit the Bard Tavern where Shakespeare-themed cocktails (taken from Shakespeare Not Stirred) will be on offer. Via Booktrack, Shakespeare eBooks come alive with music, ambient sound, and sound effects, and visitors will have the opportunity to sample favourite Shakespeare plays as an eBook with a synchronised movie-style soundtrack.
LBF will host a countdown to Shakespeare’s birthday on its social channels, as well as a social media competition to find the world’s favourite Shakespeare passage. Meanwhile, a brand showcase will display everything from Shakespeare magnets to the Booksellers Association’s ‘Bard is My Bag’ tote bags and t-shirts available for wholesale or limited purchase.
The Fair’s insights programme will also feature sessions with a Shakespeare theme, including a panel on ‘Shakespeare in the Classroom’ exploring how Shakespeare is taught around the world.
Act II: Tracey Chevalier, Howard Jacobson and Jeanette Winterson
As well as daily events at The London Book Fair, and across the capital as part of London Book and Screen Week, authors Tracy Chevalier, Howard Jacobson and Jeanette Winterson will lead Shakesperience celebrations on the second day of the Fair (Wednesday 13 April). Day two will see the Fair’s annual Author of the Day programme being dedicated solely to the bard, with various celebrations and photo calls taking place, including retellings of Shakespeare’s Othello, The Merchant of Venice, and The Winter’s Tale by Chevalier, Jacobson and Winterson respectively.
Act III: London Book & Screen Week
London Book & Screen Week – the capital’s largest celebration of books and the creative worlds they inspire – will be hosting a Shakespeare Special with Howard Jacobson among other panellists with more details to follow.
Act IV: An Aside from LBF
Jacks Thomas, Director at The London Book Fair, commented: “As the UK’s best-selling author of all time, and one of the most widely studied authors in the world, Shakespeare’s legacy continues to be one of huge significance in our global industry. It is fitting that we will be celebrating his legacy alongside other 400 year commemorations of Cervantes and Tang Xianzhu; The London Book Fair is the perfect place to mark these celebrations and to see the full array of these great writers’ works on offer to a contemporary audience in a variety of languages and formats.”
Act V: Shakespeare’s Impact around the Globe – Key Facts:
- Shakespeare’s book sales are estimated at four billion
- If commercially owned, the Shakespeare brand is estimated to be worth £1 billion
- Shakespeare’s works have been translated into more than 100 languages (British Council)
- Research by the RSC and British Council in 2012 found that 50% of the world’s schoolchildren study Shakespeare
- Since 1960, there have been publications and productions of Hamlet in more than 75 languages, including Klingon, Esperanto and Interlingua (British Council)
- Since 2000, there have been Shakespeare movies or TV shows made in: Japan, India, France, Argentina, Germany, Thailand, Italy, China, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Tibet, The Netherlands, Japan, Vietnam, Israel, Chile, Estonia, and Brazil. To these, we can add English-speaking countries Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US and the UK. (British Council)
- Romeo and Juliethas been performed in 24 countries in the last ten years. These performances include musicals, ballets and puppet shows (British Council)
- From 2005 to 2014 there were seven professional productions of Shakespeare and Shakespearean adaptations in Arabic (British Council)
- Gdańsk in Poland has a Shakespeare Theatre, opened on the site of a historic 17th century theatre where English travelling players originally performed works of English Renaissance theatre