Shakespeare's Restless World - starting Monday 16 April
Senior Producer, Radio 4
Detail from Henry V's shield. Copyright: The Dean and Chapter of Westminster 2012
In this year of celebration for all things Shakespeare, Radio 4 and the British Museum bring you Shakespeare's Restless World - a series of 20 programmes that begins on Monday 16 April. This series and website have been produced by the same team that brought you A History of the World in 100 Objects, and is a partnership between Radio 4 programme makers, the British Museum curatorial team and interactive teams from both organisations.
To quote from Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum and presenter of the series, the programmes will try "to get inside the heads of the people who lived here over 400 years ago ... (to) imagine what the world looked like to the groundlings inside the Globe theatre around 1600". Read more on the British Museum blog.
Through a range of objects from the British Museum and collections across the UK, the programmes will explore the turbulent times that Shakespeare inhabited, where violence, persecution, disease and unrest were all familiar to our Elizabethan theatre goer. We'll hear from experts and historians, and how the themes of the time weave through Shakespeare's work.
The programmes will be available to download - sign up for these now. Explore the objects that illustrate these themes - play with the deep zoom and get in really close. Admire the intricacy of a musical clock or the tracks of Francis Drake's circumnavigation of the globe on a commemoration medal.
There's also a collection of programmes from Radio 4's growing archive that illustrate the themes of the series. Find these on each of the programme pages - or gathered together on the Discovery page. Listen in to Empire from This Sceptred Isle, rediscover Voices of the Powerless - Melvyn Bragg's study of ordinary people, originally broadcast in 2002, or specially selected episodes from In Our Time's stunning archive. A theme such as Shakespeare's world can inspire a listener in many ways and these seasons give us a chance to shine a light on programmes from our archive that can lead to a richer understanding of the ideas, places and people from that time. Happy exploring.
The site is optimised for mobiles and tablets - if you're reading this on your phone, go here each day to listen to and download the programmes, watch the videos and explore the objects.
And if you have a burning question for Neil MacGregor, we'll be running a live blog on April 23rd, just after the programme at 2pm. Neil MacGregor and Barrie Cook, Curator at the British Museum, will be online to answer your questions. Keep an eye out for information on how to take part - looking forward to seeing you there.
- The series begins on 1.45pm on Monday 16 April and continues till Friday 11 May. The programmes will be available to stream and download on the Shakespeare's Restless World site
- There will be features and dramas on Radio 3 - find details here
- Information about the BBC season, Shakespeare Unlocked, can be found here
- Find Neil MacGregor's post on the British Museum blog - What is the city but the people?
- Join the project on Twitter by following #R4Shakespeare
- Watch a video of Neil MacGregor introducing the series below