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World Shakespeare Festival is launched

23rd April 2012

Today marks the birthday of William Shakespeare and the launch of the World Shakespeare Festival, a global event held as part of the Cultural Olympiad to promote London 2012.

As part of the festival, more than 70 productions will be staged across the UK in venues ranging from theatres to village halls, while every one of Shakespeare's plays will be performed at the historic Globe Theatre.

Over the next six weeks, each of the 37 plays will be performed in a different language, ranging from English and Latin to sign and Maori – the language used by the Ngakau Toa group from New Zealand, who will perform Troilus and Cressida.

Ngakau Toa will be the first of the 37 groups to perform and director Rachel House said that audiences should not worry about failing to understand the language.

'Really they should just relax and enjoy it and not panic. There are tones and expressions and emotions that are easily identifiable because they are so universal,' she added.

The World Shakespeare Festival is produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company, in collaboration with leading UK and international arts organisations and Globe to Globe, a major programme produced by Shakespeare's Globe.

It is set to run until November this year and will also include open stage productions across the UK, as well as the launch of the My Shakespeare portal to stimulate conversation about the bard and his works.

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