In a press release by the British Council in Beirut, it said: "The British Council is planning a major international programme in the run-up to 2016 - the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death. The theme will be Shakespeare as a living writer who speaks for all humanity and nations."
Release added: "Activities across the organisation's work in English, Education and the Arts will explore the story of how a playwright from the Midlands came to be enjoyed all over the globe, and influence the development of not only the English language but many others."
'Working with partners in the UK, the British Council in Lebanon will develop arts events, English language teaching materials, creative education programmes and projects to develop civil society," release noted.
Release said: "Shakespeare Lives is an invitation to the world to join in the celebrations by participating in a unique online collaboration and experiencing the work of Shakespeare directly on stage, through film, exhibitions and in schools. The programme aims to reach over half a billion people around the world. The British Council and the GREAT Britain campaign are working with host of British theatres, museums, educators and artists on brand new productions of Shakespeare's plays, film adaptations, public readings and educational resources for schools and English language learners of all ages in the UK and around the world."
"Engaging over half a billion people
Launching this autumn, Shakespeare Lives will run throughout 2016, exploring Shakespeare as a living writer who still speaks for all people and nations. Activities across English, education and the arts will explore the story of how a playwright from England came to be shared all over the globe. A major highlight will be All The World's A Stage, a mass participation project that will invite people from all over the world to upload and share clips of themselves performing lines from Shakespeare plays. It will culminate in a record breaking, crowd-sourced performance and a new digital version of Shakespeare works," release indicated.
Research carried out for the British Council in five overseas countries in 2014 showed Shakespeare's enduring status as the UK's greatest cultural icon in the eyes of the world. When young adults were asked to name a person they are interested in and associate with contemporary UK Arts and culture, William Shakespeare was by far the most popular response.
Release continued: "Other Highlights of Shakespeare Lives programme in Lebanon include:
- A school competition in partnership with a local publisher that invites students from both public and private schools around Lebanon to design an arts piece on Shakespeare.
- A MOOC (massive open online course) aimed at intermediate level English language learners exploring the key themes and characters in Shakespeare's plays and his continuing resonance around the world. Other teaching resources include Shakespeare-themed lesson plans for all levels, a series of webinars for English language teachers and animated Shakespeare stories for children.
- World Voice, the British Council's international singing programme for young people, will commission a special Shakespeare-inspired song that will feature in the World Voice songbook. The song will be used in World Voice workshops and teacher training sessions in Lebanon, and will be sung by children at a variety of events during 2016.
- A new education pack developed with the RSC, exploring some of the broad themes that run across his writing - themes that still have a resonance to people all over the world today. The pack will be distributed to all 25,000 schools in the UK and will be promoted in Lebanon through the ministry of education and higher education and private schools networks.
- In partnership with the BFI , screening the best British Shakespeare films available. This will include everything from early silent films to new productions.
Ciarn Devane, Chief Executive, British Council said: "Power struggles, brutal politics, murder, love, passion, bitter feuds, human weakness and plain farce are universal themes as relevant now as they were when Shakespeare was writing. Shakespeare Lives will engage audiences overseas and in the UK with both the work of the Bard and with the best of contemporary Britain and will open up opportunities for UK institutions, businesses and organisations to work around the world, and for organisations around the world in the UK."