The British Council, Shanghai People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, Shanghai Metro and Shanghai Translators Association launched the “Shakespeare on the Metro” event at People’s Square Station on 31 August. From 31 August to the end of 2016, a “Shakespeare Lives” culturally themed metro runs on Line 2 every day in Shanghai Metro. Meanwhile, the entrance of Line 2 at West Nanjing Road Station will also present the contents of “Shakespeare Lives” on Display Wall.
This year marks the 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare, the great English author, poet, and playwright. Co-organised by the British Council, Shanghai People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, Shanghai Metro and Shanghai Translators Association, the “Shakespeare on the Metro” event is also a part of the “Shakespeare Lives” campaign held by the British Council this year all over the globe to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
On the “Shakespeare Lives” metro on Line 2, posters on all handles and doors present 48 pieces of golden words in 19 masterpieces, from the well-known tragedy Hamlet to Henry V, which has been on tour in China this year. In June this year, Sir Ian McKellen, perhaps best known for his role as Gandalf, also appeared in the Blind Date Corner of Shanghai with one of the 48 pieces and “bounded into sudden fame”. These exquisite quotations were all provided by experts from Shanghai Translators Association. The posters on the metro walls introduce six events of the “Shakespeare Lives” campaign to be held in China in the second half of the year, including the online promotion “SHAKEspeare” developed by the British Council and JCDecaux, the tour in China of The Merchant of Venice presented by Shakespeare’s Globe, and other activities. Passengers can also follow the Weibo of the British Council (@英国大使馆文化教育处) and upload their own reactions about the “Shakespeare on the Metro” and participate in the #PlayYourPart# activity with prizes.
The Display Wall at the entrance of Line 2 at the West Nanjing Road Station shows all of the events of “Shakespeare Lives” to be held in China in the second half of the year. At the same time, the screen in the middle of the wall plays the promotion videos of the “Shakespeare Lives” activity in turn, including the review of “Shakespeare Lives” events in China in the first half of the year, the “Shakespeare on Film” at the Shanghai International Festival in June, and a series of activities on 23 April in memory of Shakespeare. Passengers can feel the charm of Shakespearean words when taking Shanghai metros or during transfer, whilst further understanding the progress and future activities of the “Shakespeare Lives” in China.
Shanghai Metro also launched a set of day passes that day, including three passes of Shakespeare from England, Tang Xianzu from China and Cervantes from Spain, so as to commemorate the 400th anniversary of their deaths. Mr. Zhu Gang, the renowned local painter, was specially invited to draw ink and wash portraits of the three literary giants, expressing gratitude to their contributions to world culture. The day pass began selling from the event day at People’s Square Station, West Nanjing Road Station, Shanghai Library Station and Hongqiao Railway Station. In addition, Mr Zhang Jun, Kunqu opera artist, UNESCO Artist of Peace, performed a part of “I, Hamlet”, a new Kun opera of his in this year.
Mr. Matthew Knowles, Area Director East China of the British Council and Consul (Cultural and Education) of the British Consulate-General in Shanghai, said, In this anniversary year, a Metro train is a fitting tribute as it takes us to different places – and also beneath the surface. Shakespeare’s imagination ranges across ages and cultures; his exploration of our common experience plumbs the depths. Stepping onto this train, as it crosses the city, Shakespeare joins us on a greater journey, whoever and wherever we are: a journey that is world-wide and life-long. ‘All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts
What is worth mentioning is that the online promotion of the “Shakespeare Lives”---“SHAKEspeare” will be fully launched on 5 September. The activity will invite young painters to draw 20 classic characters created by Shakespeare. WeChat users can acquire their own character by scanning the QR code, shaking the phone or taking a selfie. The specially commissioned buses of “SHAKEspeare” will operate in Wuhan, Shanghai and Chongqing. Besides Shanghai, posters of exclusive events will also be set in Beijing and Guangzhou subways. People can scan the QR code on buses, metros or the internet. British Airways have also offered free flight tickets to some lucky winners.