Last week we looked ahead to the UK/Russia Year of Language and Literature 2016. There’s so much laid out before us; a veritable smorgasbord in fact. There is still more to say about the Shakespearean connection – well it’s not as if every year is the 400th anniversary of his death, after all.
A free online course entitled Exploring English: Shakespeare, run by the British Council, Russia is part of the program. It’s set to feature video tuition with clips from actors and experts located around the world and will examine five of Shakespeare’s most renowned plays: Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, The Tempest and Macbeth. The course sets out to explore various enduring themes that run throughout the plays and ensure that the work remains relevant today. There will be quizzes to keep you on-point and an invitation to express your own ideas and opinions on the themes within.
You can find more information about it here. It all sounds fantastic, frankly, and is based around a flexible schedule – even allowing enrolment after the course commences. Case in point: you are just in time for the official start date of Monday 11th january 2016.
Now, there is a possible caveat in the following statement: “The material is designed for non-native English speakers who have studied English to around intermediate level (approximately B1 on the CEFR)”. But, from a casually interested English person’s perspective, I suppose: so what?
We’ve already mentioned the NTLive participation (see last week). Once again: from an consumer POV, NTLive is unreservedly great. And that’s from me: decidedly not a theatre-buff, but just take a look at their productions of Frankenstein and/or The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-Time and it’s case-closed.
However the more I read, the more it seems that their upcoming Shakespearean season is scheduled for Russian TheatreHD broadcasts. If that’s an exclusive, well C’est la vie: the various 2016 events are spread between East and West, meaning that not everything is on everywhere (not everything is Shakespeare either, but we’ll come to that later). With digital content: it can indeed be everywhere, so I’ll just have to end that particular train of thought with a big question mark. At any rate, British Council Russia’s events page can be found here.
We get the Russian masters though, via an exhibition and two events to be held at London’s National Portrait Gallery (not to be confused with The National Gallery). From the 17th March – 26th June there will be The Age of Tolstoy and Tchaikovsky featuring masterpieces on loan from Moscow’s State Tretyakov Gallery. There are also two events for UKPG gallery members (bring your membership card): the Members’ Afternoon Preview: Russia and the Arts is on 16th March at 2pm and the Members’ Evening Private View: Vogue 100 A Century of Style and Russia and the Arts is on 29th March at 6:30pm.
By way of reciprocation, a selection of English masterpieces are scheduled to be shipped out to the Tretyakov for an exhibition commencing in April. You see how it works? Whilst the political and economic communities throw sanctions, threats and worse at each other, the artists just exchange paintings. There’s a lesson in there somewhere.
More on Language and Literature 2016 next week.
[Photo by kryzsiek]