Puck, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Photo by Anneleen Lindsay.
Puck.  ©

Photo by Anneleen Lindsay.


Programmes Time/Cities Introduction

National Theatre Live

January-May 2016

Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Suzhou, Xi'an

2016 sees some of Shakespeare’s best-loved works being shown in China including Othello starring Adrian Lester, King Lear starring Simon Russell Beale, and Hamlet starring Benedict Cumberbatch. On 23 April, special screening events will be held in Beijing and Shanghai, marking the exact day of the 400th anniversary. 

Play Your Part

January-December 2016


Do you have a favourite Shakespeare moment? It could be your most-loved play, a character who resonates with you, a villain you love to hate, a soliloquy that stirs your soul or fond memories of seeing a play in performance or studying it at school. Share it through Play Your Part, our year-long social media campaign. 

Exploring English: Shakespeare

January-December 2016


This new MOOC course recognises Shakespeare’s legacy by looking into his enduring popularity, whilst helping English learners to improve their English language skills. The British Council’s English experts will guide the audiences through the course by placing special emphasis on some of the words and expressions that Shakespeare introduced to the English language.

Royal Shakespeare Company present: ‘King & Country’ Tour

February-March 2016 

Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong 

Artistic Director Gregory Doran’s acclaimed productions of Henry IV Part I, Henry IV Part II and Henry V play at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing (18-21 Feb) , the Shanghai Grand Theatre (25-28 Feb) and the Hong Kong Arts Festival (4-13 Mar). The tour is kindly supported by our Global Tour Premier Partner, J.P. Morgan.

Shakespeare Schools Pack 

From March 2016

Available online

Created in partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and available free to download online, the pack encourages teachers and pupils to engage with some of the key issues, themes and ideas in Shakespeare’s plays, and to explore the ways they remain relevant and current in our lives today.

International Women’s Day: Maxine Peake’s Hamlet

8 March 2016


This dialogue informed Maxine Peake’s 2014 interpretation of perhaps Shakespeare’s most famous character, Hamlet. By being cast in a part normally performed by men, Peake challenged stereotypical ideas of gender to create an unusual and bold Hamlet.

Shakespeare SMART Talks


March-April 2016


Led by eminent creative professionals with a real passion for Shakespeare, this series of SMART Talks discuss the impact of the poet and playwright on society, arts and culture world-wide. SMART Talks are interactive lectures that aim to inspire young people and students.

Guildhall School of Music and Drama present: Go Make You Ready

April 2016

Shanghai, Beijing

The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, one of the world’s leading conservatoires and drama schools, present their multi-disciplinary interpretation of Shakespeare’s sonnets. This series of performances is curated by famed British voice coach, author and theatre director, Patsy Rodenburg, and star some of the UK’s best rising talent. 

British Film Institute Shakespeare Season

mid-June 2016



The special BFI curated programme of feature films showing how British cinema has transformed and reimagined Shakespeare’s work. The programme includes the earliest surviving silent Shakespeare, faithful adaptations by British actors and directors who have had made Shakespeare’s work accessible internationally (such as Laurence Olivier); performances by today’s greatest Shakespearean actors, including Ian McKellen (Richard III); experimental and playful reworkings that reinforce Shakespeare’s enduring relevance as source material (Prospero’s Books, Theatre of Blood and Next) and expressions of themes such as diversity, identity and desire (Othello, Romeo and Juliet and The Angelic Conversation). 

Hallé Orchestra present: The Music of Shakespeare


12-17 July 2016 

Beijing (NCPA), Shanghai (Grand Theatre), Wuhan (Qintai Concert Hall)

The Hallé Orchestra, Britain's longest-established professional symphony orchestra, presents a series of concerts based on the music of Shakespeare, with some performances featuring renowned Chinese cellist, Jian Wang.


September 2016



Transform into your favourite Shakespeare character on your mobile! Using the shake function on WeChat, you can unlock a world of great Shakespeare content, dress as your favourite character and win the chance to go to the UK.

Shakespeare’s Globe present: The Merchant of Venice


September 2016

Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou 

Shakespeare’s Globe present their acclaimed production of The Merchant of Venice. Double Olivier and Tony award winner, Jonathan Price, tackles the challenging role of the moneylender Shylock in a reprise of what was his first appearance at Shakespeare’s Globe. 

A co-production between Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre and Gecko

October 2016

Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre

A world premiere inspired by “the dream”, that links Tang Xianzu’s Dream Plays and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This is a newly commissioned work, supported by the British Council, for the award-winning and internationally-acclaimed UK physical theatre company Gecko, to work with Shanghai’s most prominent theatre company. 

Royal Shakespeare Company and Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre present: Henry V


November 2016 

Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre

The Royal Shakespeare Company kicks off its major ten-year cultural exchange collaboration with translations of Chinese classics into English and performance-based translations of Shakespeare’s plays into Chinese, starting in the rehearsal room of Henry V. The Company will collaborate with the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre on a new Chinese production of Henry V based on this pilot translation, premiering in Shanghai in November.

 ‘Shakespeare in Love’ by The English Concert

13-17 December 2016


 The English Concert will perform a Shakespearean programme consisting of England’s best music of the time.