Shakespeare special: our favourite quotes

Our May edition includes a Shakespeare special, as well as a focus on Denmark and an interview with legendary trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger. To get you in the mood, here’s a taster of interesting insights taken from our interviews.

‘Cleopatra has been whited-out ever since the Jacobean period. One of the important things that critics and directors today can do is restore ideas like the black Cleopatra.’

– Carol Rutter, Shakespeare scholar at Warwick University

‘The problem all the way through is that Shakespeare was constructed in a certain way in the early 19th century by the Romantics who had absorbed their German philosophy and made him into a bard. And that brings with it the romantic idea that Shakespeare was a lone genius in the attic. Bollocks: he was a commercial playwright writing for commercial audiences writing to make money in a staggeringly active, collaborative and competitive environment.’

– Gordon McMullan, King’s College London #Shakespeare400 organiser

‘The whole idea of original is a delusion. Even if we were able to put together an archival documentary performance of Hamlet it still wouldn’t be performed to the original audience and, therefore, it would not complete the three areas necessary for an authentic original production: script, actors and audience.’ 

– Carol Rutter, Shakespeare scholar at Warwick University 

Shakespeare's Globe

Shakespeare’s Globe

‘In the library at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, there are translations of his works into nearly 90 different languages, including Klingon!’

– Diana Owen, chief executive of Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

‘When we played in Iraq last Tuesday it was really phenomenal – there were 1,200 people to see us in Erbil. There are no shows there at all, so it was a really worthwhile thing to do…and it was odd, because it feels like a city looking forward, yet Islamic State forces are just 30km away.’

– Tom Bird, producer of Hamlet Globe to Globe

Hamlet Globe to Globe

Hamlet Globe to Globe

 

‘Cleopatra has been whited-out ever since the Jacobean period. One of the important things that critics and directors today can do is restore ideas like the black Cleopatra.’

– Carol Rutter, Shakespeare scholar at Warwick University

Hamlet has such a richness and can mean so many different thing’s to so many different people – that’s why we picked it in the first place. In Rwanda everyone reacted to the themes of revenge, because that is a massive issue in that country. In other places it became about a broken family, or women’s rights, or what it is like to grow up as a young man. The play has all that in it and more.’

– Tom Bird, producer of Hamlet Globe to Globe

‘And very significantly, Shakespeare’s works have proved to be infinitely adaptable. Each country and each time has their own version of Shakespeare. Now we see his works being adapted into all means of communication; video, music, raps, blogs and mash ups. For example, I have seen some excellent Chinese versions of Hamlet, Richard III and Romeo and Juliet, adapted to the Chinese theatrical tradition.’

– Diana Owen, chief executive of Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Shakespeare's New Place

Shakespeare’s New Place

‘Thank you Shakespeare – you were a product of your time, your family and your schooling…you help us make sense of ourselves in our present. Thank you Billy Big Boy.’

– Carol Rutter, Shakespeare scholar at Warwick University

And, finally, here’s a quote we love from Billy Big Boy himself:

‘Ask for me to-morrow, and you shall find me a grave man.’

Mercutio, Romeo and Juliet

Get Our E-Newsletter - Weekly email news from International Arts Manager
Will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy
Share.