When we British folk speak of history, we have little on which to draw breath. Engrained in our bones are the triumphs and wounds that our land has endured. If one tried to dream up a legacy, few would believe one that spoke of lion hearts, gunpowder plots and twerking. One would, in fact, find the skeletons lurking in my wardrobe more palatable.
I am staunchly proud of both my history, and, that of my homeland. It may seem peculiar, particularly to those unfamiliar of our British quirks, that we indiscriminatingly mark all manner of good, bad, ludicrous and controversial events from across the years. For my rather infuriatingly curious brain, however, it is exceptional. I will, quite literally and enthusiastically, turn up to the opening of an envelope, should said envelope be intriguing, beguiling and/or historical.
revel in Shakespeare's creativity
This year, marks the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. A wealth of truly wonderful events will spring up around the country, one can only rub their hands with glee at the idea of school plays, soap box poets and grand productions that are being crafted in celebration. I was lucky enough to have started my year of Shakespearian delight with an exceptionally unique experience. Much like the hero of this particular tale, the stage set for What you will: Celebrating 400 years of Shakespeare in the English language, was a hallowed hall of great London history.
Few could imagine that, after four Bardic centuries, Middle Temple Hall could once again play host to a gathering of literary lovers’ and kindred spirits eager to revel in Shakespeare’s creativity. London never fails to astonish me, but, as I took my seat that Tuesday, I was awestruck by the significance of the date on which I sat. The 2 February 2016 was by no means Shakespeare’s debut, in fact, 414 years to the day, the very first performance of Shakespeare’s play, Twelfth Night, was performed by The Lord Chamberlain's Company on the boards of Middle Temple Hall, it was rumoured to have had in its audience, the Bard and Queen Elizabeth.
From 1602 to 2016, through wars and through peace, Middle Temple has remained a beacon of British history. The panels of Temple Hall are lined with the arms of great forefathers, the foundations hold up the history gone by and that to come and, the walls, no doubt, hold tight to many a tale and secret. British Council Shakespeare Lives delivered an extraordinary celebration, Professor David Crystal, the UK''s national treasure of linguistics, and Ben Crystal''s Passion In Practice Shakespearean Ensemble delivered excerpts from Twelfth Night and a thrilling performance lecture featured guest actors and musicians.
Brilliance and Bard from British Council, proud to be British.