“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players,” William Shakespeare.
Being a ‘player’ on the stage professionally may seem like an impossible dream to some. To celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday we wanted to shine the spotlight on the charities helping people make the stage their world.
Striving for diversity on stage brings new energy into old words. If Shakespeare decided to haunt the Globe on his birthday, he’d see his plays performed in ways he could never have imagined. Up until 1660, female characters were only allowed to be played by men. Fast forward to the modern day and you’ll see how playhouse’s like the Globe have reimagined plays like Imogen, where leading ladies fly through the air in Adidas tracksuits, while the cast raps below her. In this production, young Londoners brought their world to the stage. If art should mirror life, then it has a responsibility to reflect the world it’s representing.
A number of charities are dedicated to helping disadvantaged people gain access to theatre with the aim of making contemporary productions as diverse as their audiences. Deafinitely Theatre nurtures deaf talent and helps recognised in the arts. Charities such as The Big House and Generation Arts support care leavers and those out of education and employment to participate in theatre. Likewise, Synergy and Only Connect support ex-prisoners get into theatre as a form of therapy.
The timeless resonance of Shakespearean theatre is set to last thanks to organisations that help keep it relevant, inclusive and contributing to the greater good. Let’s give Will a birthday cheers to that.