Shakespeare isn’t a heritage industry – we must constantly reinvent him


There will be no getting away from Shakespeare this week, as the 400th anniversary of his death is celebrated with events all across the country. But of course you can never get away from him. Even those who have never seen a Shakespeare play will understand what is meant by a Romeo; frequently some public figure’s fall from grace is described as a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions. Shakespeare has permeated every aspect of life from the language we use on a daily basis toadvertising campaigns from Levi’s to Red Bull.

A British Council survey published today suggests that Shakespeare is one of the UK’s most successful ever cultural exports: “400 years after his death, William Shakespeare has a positive impact on the UK economy and influence on the world,” trumpets the press release, pointing to the fact that around a third of those polled in 15 countries around the world had experienced Shakespeare.

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