24 Hour Shakespeare

Date: 17.06.2016     Last updated: 17.06.2016 at 10.00

 ‘I’ll put a girdle round the earth…’
- Puck, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

On the longest day of Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary year - 20 June, the summer solstice – Shakespeare Lives, a six-month online festival, co-curated by the BBC and the British Council to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of the Bard, goes round the clock and round the globe using the time references in Shakespeare’s plays and Sonnets.

Every hour will be marked on social media by posts that fit the specific time of day. There’ll be great film and video clips with famous performers past and present, rare stills, a range of specially created GIFs and a wealth of wonderful Shakespearean material – surprising, fascinating and fun to share.

Why do it? Well, as Germaine Greer has pointed out, clocks came into common usage in Shakespeare’s lifetime and he’s the first playwright to include frequent references to clock time in his work. Indeed, the phrase ‘watch the clock’ first appears in Sonnet 57. His work is also full of the most wonderful poetic and insightful references to time itself and its relationship to our mortal span.

So take some time and join in our Midsummer Madness!

Featured artists past and present include (alphabetical order of first name):

  • Antony Andrews
  • Ashley Walters
  • Bob Hoskins
  • Colin Blakely
  • Colin Morgan
  • David Tennant
  • Dame Diana Rigg
  • Dame Helen Mirren
  • Sir Ian McKellen
  • Imogen Stubbs
  • James Hazeldine
  • Jamie Parker
  • John Hudson
  • Dame Margot Fonteyn
  • Marsha Hunt
  • Sir Michael Gambon
  • Paul Daneman
  • Phil Daniels
  • Richard Griffiths
  • Richard Pasco
  • Roger Allam
  • Roger Daltrey
  • Rudolph Nureyev
  • Simon Callow
  • Simon Russell Beale
  • Sir Ben Kingsley
  • Sir Patrick Stewart
  • Tom Hiddleston
  • Warren Mitchell
  • Sir Willard White

Notes to Editors

Shakespeare Lives is a six-month online festival which will bring a remarkable collection of interpretations of Shakespeare’s work together in one digital space, for audiences in the UK and around the world to experience.

It is co-curated by the BBC and the British Council and co-ordinated by the Shakespeare digital team based in Birmingham. It is also supported by the GREAT Britain campaign.

The Shakespeare Lives participating partner organisations are The Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare’s Globe, The Royal Opera House, Hay Festivals, The British Film Institute, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust with the British Council and the BBC.

Visit bbc.co.uk/shakespearelives for more on the festival.