There have been thousands of programmes, documentaries, scholarly articles, performances and events broadcast, written and produced over the last couple of months to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Looking across the global media, new and old, it seems that in almost every country, English speaking or not, William Shakespeare and his work has been celebrated.
Amongst all of these, the ones that have really caught my attention have been those that have explored the relevancy of the Bard in a modern ever-changing world. In particular, today, I want to share a 2 programme series broadcast by the BBC. In the first episode, presented by Nikki Bedi, Shakespeare In India explores how the cannon remains relevant in the sub-continent. It looks at how much of the work resonates with the politics, culture and social norms of today and how Shakespeare has faired in a post-colonial world. The programme also touches on Parsi Theatre, which was new to me.
The second episode, Shakespeare in South Africa is even more interesting. Presented by writer Nadia Davids, it explores how Shakespeare is being performed as a way of discussing race, violence against women, and the current political crisis around President Zuma. What particularly struck a chord with me however, is the discussion of Shakespeare as part of the debate about decolonising education.