BBC iPlayer to host live Shakespeare festival
James R | On 19, Apr 2016
BBC iPlayer is opening its doors to partners for the first time, as part of a landmark celebration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
Shakespeare Day Live will take place on Saturday 23rd April, kicking off a six-month online festival marking the anniversary of the Bard’s death.
Co-curated by the BBC and the British Council, and co-ordinated by the Shakespeare digital team based in Birmingham, the event will feature special contributions from the Royal Opera House, Shakespeare’s Globe, the BFI, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Hay Festival and the Royal Shakespeare Company, all broadcast online on a dedicated pop-up channel.
Suzy Klein, Ore Oduba, Matthew Sweet, Sara Mohr-Pietsch, Andy Akinwolere, Jamie McDougall and Katie Derham will present the action on bbc.co.uk/shakespearelives, which will be available to watch anywhere in the world.
The channel will host live content, starting with breakfast at 8am at Shakespeare’s New Place, the site of Shakespeare’s adult home and the place where he died, followed by the opening of The Complete Walk at 11am, which will see all 37 Shakespeare play represented by new films created by Shakespeare’s Globe shown on 37 screens stretching from Westminster Bridge to Tower Bridge.
Other programmes, available on demand, include Simon Russell Beale and Adrian Lester talking about Being Hamlet, and a short film about young Londoners, featuring Ralph Fiennes, that only uses Shakespeare’s words.
At 8.30pm on the Saturday, BBC Two will then broadcast a live event from the Roayl Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, hosted by David Tennant. (This will also be available to watch live on BBC iPlayer, but online within the UK.)
All of this builds up to the online release of David Tennant’s Richard II, from the RSC, at 10.30pm.
Tony Hall, Director-General of the BBC, says: “This weekend, we’re experimenting live with digital formats like never before. Alongside a fantastic line-up on radio and television, we’re hosting a digital festival, shaped with partners, to bring their creativity to millions here and the world over. And, for the first time, the BBC will be showcasing the great talent we have in our leading cultural institutions on BBC iPlayer. It’s another step towards an open BBC – something we all believe in.”
For a full guide to the Shakespeare Day Live events on BBC iPlayer, click here.