From Global London to Global Shakespeare

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In the twenty-first century, ‘global Shakespeare’ as an artistic practice and research paradigm is shaped not only by postcolonialism, nationalism, and neoliberalism, but also by the rise of global cities, such as London. With the shift from nation states to global cities, the worldwide presence of the playwright is largely sustained by the importance of London as a powerful financial and cultural centre which imports and exports performances on a worldwide scale. The enterprise is supported by the myth of universal Shakespeare as a source of basic human values. The myth is no longer used as an instrument of an imperial policy but as part of neoliberal and national agendas. Two recent international initiatives vividly show the appeal of London as a global city and of Shakespeare as a universal playwright in the framework of globalization: the World Shakespeare Festival in the UK, which included the Globe to Globe Festival in London (2012), and the world tour of the Globe Theatre’s Hamlet (2014 - 2016). Both projects manifest the intricate entanglement of postcolonialism, nationalism, neoliberalism, and globalization. Given the importance of London for global Shakespeare performance, the article opens and closes with the consideration of the city’s future post-Brexit.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-246
Number of pages12
JournalContemporary Theatre Review
Issue number2
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Jun 2018

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