Day-long festivities to celebrate the bard

Apr 23, 2016, 09:07 IST | Anand Benegal

Today, as the world hails the literary contributions of William Shakespeare, literature buffs can join in the day-long festivities

William Shakespeare — English language’s champion playwright and perhaps the most significant literary figure — is believed by most historians to have been born on the same day he died. Each year, this day (April 23) is celebrated widely across Great Britain and especially in Stratford-upon-Avon, his birthplace. This year marks the 452nd anniversary of his birth and the 400th death anniversary of the Bard.

Maxine Peak plays Hamlet
Maxine Peak plays Hamlet

The British Council in Mumbai has planned an exciting programme for Saturday. With the Shakespeare for the Young workshop, kids from age of nine to 14 will be introduced to the Bard and his work in a fresh, meaningful way. For an older audience of teenagers and adults (16 and above), there will be a workshop conducted on Universality in Shakespearean Drama, which focuses on how Shakespearean literature can be used to understand and empathise with a wide range of universal emotions. Writer and English language trainer Yasmeen Pardiwala will conduct both workshops.

Language expert Donna Reen will conduct another workshop, The Relevance of Shakespeare the same evening and you can look forward to a screening of the critically-acclaimed Manchester theatre production of Hamlet that stars Maxine Peak in a titular role.

When commenting on Shakespeare’s relevance to the average Mumbaikar, Sharon Memis, director, West India, British Council, says, “They are stories that reflect life. What is beautiful is that they come alive through the words and language and not through elaborate stage productions. His characters live through the language — they can say so much with few words. That is why, his works have crossed the boundaries of cultures and languages.”

Also check out
Shakespeare is also the British Council Library’s author of the month. You can log on to to check out illustrated and abridged retellings of the Bard’s plays, the highlight being the Usborne Illustrated Stories from Shakespeare. You can also follow the hashtag #ShakespeareLives on Twitter to find out what’s trending about the celebrations today.

Today’s line-up

>> Shakespeare for the Young workshop.
Time: 12 pm to 2 pm
Cost: Rs 500 (registration)

>> Universality in Shakespearean Drama workshop.
Time: 2.30 pm to 4.30 pm
Cost: Rs 500 (registration)

>> The Relevance of Shakespeare today workshop.
Time: 4.30 pm to 6.30 pm
Cost: Rs 500 (registration)

>> Screening of Hamlet starring Maxine Peak.
Time: 7 pm to 9.30 pm
Entry: Free
At: British Council, 901, Tower 1, One Indiabulls Centre, Elphinstone Road (W).
Call: 67486790
Log on to: for further details

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