Best of the Bard

Dated: 05/09/2011'Sage Gateshead General Director Anthony Sargent (left) pictured with Northern Stage Chief Executive Erica Whyman (centre) and Theatre Royal Chief Executive Phillip Bernays (right) launching the 2012 World Shakespeare Festival ...'See Sage Gateshead Press Release ...  #NorthNewsAndPictures/2daymedia *** Local Caption ***
Dated: 05/09/2011'Sage Gateshead General Director Anthony Sargent (left) pictured with Northern Stage Chief Executive Erica Whyman (centre) and Theatre Royal Chief Executive Phillip Bernays (right) launching the 2012 World Shakespeare Festival ...'See Sage Gateshead Press Release ... #NorthNewsAndPictures/2daymedia *** Local Caption ***
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THE North East’s contribution to the World Shakespeare Festival, part of London 2012 festival and the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad, has been announced.

It will run across three venues between June 26 and July 28, 2012 – The Sage Gateshead, Northern Stage and Newcastle Theatre Royal – and will include five new productions in celebration of The Bard.

The national World Shakespeare Festival forms part of London 2012 Festival, and will bring together leading artists from all over the world in a once-in-a-lifetime experience of extraordinary theatre in celebration of Shakespeare as “the world’s playwright.”

Produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in an unprecedented collaboration with leading UK and international arts organisations, and with Globe to Globe, a major international programme produced by Shakespeare’s Globe, it will showcase the best of UK and international creative talent.

It is the first-ever collaboration of its kind on such a major scale.

As half the world’s children study Shakespeare at school, the major focus of the festival is on young people – inspiring them through Shakespeare and the challenge and fun of performance, and encouraging creativity.

Hundreds of amateur groups and thousands of teachers and young people will be taking part.

The five North East offerings, all either commissioned or produced by the RSC include:

l The Rest is Silence (June 26-30) by dreamthinkspeak at Northern Stage, Newcastle, a textual and visual deconstruction of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, interweaving performance, film and installation to create a vigorous new interpretation.

l In A Pickle (June 27-30) by Oily Cart is a new show for children under six years old inspired by Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale.

l West Side Story (July 4-7) produced by The Sage Gateshead in association with the RSC’s Open Stages, a full-scale production of Bernstein’s classic musical featuring a cast of professional as well as new and emerging talent, selected from across the region and beyond.

l Macbeth (July 11-14) produced by Tunisia’s Artistes, Producteurs, Associés for Northern Stage is a modern-day adaptation, mixing contemporary reportage and Shakespeare in a production inspired by the tumultuous events of the Arab Spring.

Macbeth’s brutality and terrifying actions are transposed to north Africa, to a region on the brink of uprising.

l Julius Caesar (July 19-28) produced by the RSC for Newcastle Theatre Royal gives dark contemporary echoes to Shakespeare’s great political thriller,