London 2012 Festival celebrates The Bard's life with launch of star-studded short film
Monday, 23 April 2012
April 23 - The London 2012 Festival has today celebrated the life of William Shakespeare, the iconic English playwright, with the launch of a short film – that depicts actors, Olympians and Paralympians coming together for the opening of the World Shakespeare Festival.
It features some of the United Kingdom's leading names, including Sydney 2000 triple-jump champion and world record holder Jonathan Edwards, reciting from The Tempest – the play that inspired Danny Boyle's "Isles of Wonder" strapline for the London 2012 Opening Ceremony.
The one-minute film will feature readings of lines of The Tempest Act 3, Scene 2.
It will be sent to thousands of fans on the London 2012 database and used across social-media platforms to promote the opening of the World Shakespeare Festival, produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).
Stars from stage and screen include Ray Fearon and Adjoa Andoh, who play lead roles in the RSC's Julius Caesar and Simon Russell Beale, who is playing the title role in the National Theatre's production of Timon of Athens.
They are joined by wheelchair basketball ace Ade Adepitan, who won a bronze medal at the Athens 2004 Paralympics, in addition to Edwards.
"I was delighted to be asked to be part of a film that shows how sport and culture are working together to make the most of a unique summer," said Edwards.
"The London 2012 Festival will showcase our world-leading arts and culture when the eyes of the world are on the UK, and it's clear that artists, just like athletes, are looking to do the best work of their lives."
The World Shakespeare Festival is a celebration of Shakespeare as the world's foremost playwright.
It represents an unprecedented collaboration between the RSC, leading UK and international arts organisations, and Globe to Globe, a major international programme produced by Shakespeare's Globe.
It runs from today, the day on which Shakespeare was both born in 1564 and died in 1616, until November.
"We are delighted that the World Shakespeare Festival is at the heart of the London 2012 Festival in an unprecedented collaboration between more than 70 arts organisations from across the UK and the world, staging nearly a hundred productions, events and exhibitions," said Deborah Shaw, director of the World Shakespeare Festival and RSC associate director.
'The Festival's spiritual heartland is Stratford-upon-Avon, but there will be a presence across 10 theatres, galleries and museums in London, and it will reach almost every corner of the British Isles as well as online.
"This film gives a hint of what's to come as we celebrate Shakespeare as the world's best playwright."
The World Shakespeare Festival forms part of the London 2012 Festival, which itself is the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad that brings together leading artists from all over the world in a UK-wide event this summer.
The announcement today comes ahead of the launch of the full programme for the London 2012 Festival later this week.
"We wanted to celebrate the opening of the World Shakespeare Festival by releasing a film which shows Shakespeare is fun as well as unforgettable," added Ruth Mackenzie, director of the London 2012 Festival.
"This celebration of Shakespeare is of Olympic scale and ambition, and we hope the film will excite new audiences by linking the Festival to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games."
To view the film click here.
January 2012: Shakespeare is inspiration for London 2012 Opening Ceremony
November 2011: Something for everyone as programme is announced for free London 2012 Cultural Festival
January 2011: It's playtime as Bard's works cross language barrier to celebrate London Olympics
December 2010: Blanchett, Hockney and Albarn head line-up of early talent for London 2012 Festival
July 2009: Royal Opera House chief to oversee Cultural Olympiad