Shakespeare 400th anniversary celebrated in Glasgow

Four of Scotland’s leading arts and educational institutions are to join forces to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare next year, they announced today.
The Cloisters at Glasgow University. Picture: Robert PerryThe Cloisters at Glasgow University. Picture: Robert Perry
The Cloisters at Glasgow University. Picture: Robert Perry

The collaboration between the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Glasgow School of Art, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Glasgow University will celebrate the life and legacy of the poet and playwright.

Dramatic performances, live music events, film screenings and exhibitions - all inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream - will be staged across Glasgow over the next few months.

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Hundreds of students, artists, designers and academics will be involved in the New Dreams project, which will culminate in a multi-media “immersive performance” event, entitled Dream On.

It will be staged in and around the university’s historic Bute Hall and atmospheric Cloisters on 23 April to coincide with the actual anniversary.

It is being masterminded by Graham McLaren, associate director of the National Theatre of Scotland, and will be one of his final projects in the city before taking over as co-director of Dublin’s Abbey Theatre next summer.

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, principal of the RCS, said: “This is one of the biggest and most collaborative celebrations of Shakespeare ever created and staged in Scotland.”

McLaren said “a remarkable array of local and international collaborators and artists” will be involved in the one-off event.

He added: “Thirty years ago I was taken to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (then the RSAMD) by a wonderful, canny drama teacher to watch Shakespeare for free.

“I sat in the Old Athenaeum Theatre and, quite simply, a fire in me ignited and a lifelong love of this great institution started.”

Professor Tom Inns, director of Glasgow School of Art, said: “Our design students will employ cutting-edge techniques in the production giving the celebration a truly contemporary feel and ensuring the genius of Shakespeare’s work is communicated to the 21st century audience.”

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Professor Anton Muscatelli, principal of Glasgow University, said: “We are extremely proud to be hosting what will undoubtedly be a memorable event.

“The university will play centre stage in what will be a creative, inspiring evening of performance, dance and music. A fitting 400th birthday tribute to William Shakespeare, a man whose own artistic skills and creativity helped shape the English language and English literature around the world.”