The Cultural Olympiad
Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7597460.stm
Not much detail yet, but this news storyis the first mention I've found online of the Shakespeare Festival that is going to form part of the Cultural Olympiad. I don't know huge amounts about this yet, but the RSC are heavily involved in (if not actually running) the event, which is going to consist of performance of Shakespeare plays all over the country on some astronomical scale.
I'm reporting this on this blog (as opposed to my theatre review blog) because this Festival is actually related to my PhD. One of the main purposes of the new edition of the Apocrypha is to create performable playtexts of the apocryphal plays. Several of them only exist in old-spelling versions, and most are impractical to obtain unless you're an academic (or really committed). One of the outcomes of the edition, then, is planned to be a series of the apocryphal plays as part of the Shakespeare Festival, simultaneously celebrating the new edition and bringing the plays, at long last, to an audience.
All of which is very laudable. I'm waiting to hear more details about the Festival itself, though, as I'm not completely sold on the idea. Shakespeare is one of the international images, if you like, of Britain, and it's understandable that, with the world's eyes on the country in the run up to the Olympics, the authorities want to remind the world of our most popular exports. However, there ARE other writers (gasp, horror), not to mention dramatists, and if this festival is as large-scale as it threatens to be then I think there's a huge danger of overkill. We have, after all, only just finished one Complete Works Festival.
Nonetheless, as long as it's got some artistic merit I'm sure I'll enjoy it, and if the work done by our project contributes tangibly to the Festival then it'll be a wonderful (and hopefully fun) outcome.