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About Shakespeare Lives

Shakespeare Lives marks the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare – widely acknowledged as the greatest of all playwrights and the most extensively read and studied author in the English language.

Shakespeare Lives is an international online Shakespeare festival which enables audiences in the UK and around the world to experience, in one place, a remarkable collection showcasing the creative range of the Bard’s work and its reinterpretation by artists in all art forms.

Shakespeare’s Globe, the British Film Institute, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Hay Festivals and the Royal Opera House have come together with the BBC and the British Council to create this unique and pioneering partnership, which will launch with Shakespeare Day Live, a live stream on 22nd and 23rd April 2016 to coincide with the 400th anniversary.

Hosted and distributed by the BBC, the festival is supported by the British Council as a co-producer, enabling partner organisations to make their work available on this site.

The British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations. It creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide.

Working with the GREAT Britain campaign and an unprecedented number of partners, the British Council is commemorating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death with initiatives including a unique digital collaboration, the largest ever touring film programme, performances, public readings, talks, debates and educational resources for people worldwide throughout 2016.


The BFI (British Film Institute) is the lead body for film in the UK with the ambition to create a flourishing film environment in which innovation, opportunity and creativity can thrive.

The BFI connects audiences to the widest choice of British and World cinema. It preserves and restores the most significant film collection in the world for today and future generations. It champions emerging and world class film makers in the UK and invests in creative, distinctive and entertaining work, promoting British film and talent to the world.

Through the work of the BFI it grows the next generation of film makers and audiences.

Hay Festival

Hay Festival brings writers and readers together to inspire, examine and entertain at its festivals around the world. Nobel Prize winners and novelists, scientists and politicians, historians and musicians talk with audiences in a dynamic exchange of ideas.

Hay Festival's global conversation shares the latest thinking in the arts and sciences with curious audiences live, in print and digitally.

Hay Festival also runs wide programmes of education work supporting coming generations of writers and culturally hungry audiences of all ages. Join us to imagine the world.

The Royal Opera House

The Royal Opera House aims to enrich people’s lives through opera and ballet. Home to two of the world’s great artistic companies – The Royal Opera and The Royal Ballet – the Royal Opera House engages audiences across the UK through the work of its Learning and Participation department, the presentation of cinema relays and continued digital outreach whilst breaking ground in the presentation of lyric theatre.

The Royal Shakespeare Company

The Royal Shakespeare Company creates theatre at its best, made in Stratford-upon-Avon and shared around the world. It produces an inspirational artistic programme each year, setting Shakespeare in context, alongside the work of his contemporaries and today’s writers.

Everyone at the RSC - from actors to armourers, musicians to technicians - plays a part in creating the world you see on stage. All of its productions begin life at its Stratford workshops and theatres and are brought to the widest possible audience through touring, residencies, live broadcasts and online activity. So wherever you experience the RSC, you experience work made in Shakespeare’s home town.

Shakespeare's Globe

Founded by American actor and director Sam Wanamaker, Shakespeare's Globe is dedicated to the exploration of Shakespeare's work and the theatre for which he wrote.

Since it opened in 1997, the Globe has gained an international reputation for excellence in performance, both at home in its open-air theatre on Bankside and through touring productions all over the world. An indoor Jacobean theatre, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, opened its doors in January 2014 – the addition of this candlelit space has permitted a year-round programme of plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries and productions of new writing.

Related Links

Shakespeare on Tour

Discover stories of Shakespeare performances across England from the 16th Century to the present day.

Shakespeare on Tour