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Using Shakespeare to promote cultural links between UK and Burma

Over 300 Rangoon students perform Macbeth at the National Theatre, in a Shakespeare Schools project for Great Britain Week 2013

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Great Britain Week (Shakespeare's play)

Great Britain Week (Shakespeare's play)

At the National Theatre in Rangoon on Friday 6th December, more than 300 students aged 6-20 will perform in Macbeth by William Shakespeare.

The students come from more than a dozen schools and youth groups around Rangoon. In the last month, they have all taken part in workshops with ‘Shakespeare Schools’, an organisation based in Yangon. The students have learned theatre skills and got to know one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays. The experience will help their development in school and their path into employment or higher education.

The aim of the project is to make Shakespeare’s stories accessible to all, promote ‘active learning’ approaches to teaching, and encourage imagination and play. As well as performing on the National Theatre stage, the students are developing confidence, self-esteem, and speaking and listening skills.

The performance is part of Great Britain Week, which is taking place from 1 - 7 December. Great Britain Week aims to promote British business in Burma and to promote cultural links between the two countries. The British Ambassador, Andrew Patrick, said:

Shakespeare’s work is a cornerstone of the English language. I am delighted to see such a diverse group of children taking part in this exciting project with such excellent Shakespeare practitioners. I hope that there will be many more opportunities for children here to enjoy and celebrate great literary and dramatic work from the UK.

The project has been supported by two leading UK companies, Standard Chartered and Prudential. Allen Thai, Chief Representative at Prudential, said:

We are delighted to be supporting the Shakespeare Schools Project as part of the Great Britain Week 2013. As a British company with a presence across Asia, Prudential has been a staunch supporter of educational projects in the communities in which it operates. We hope that children in Yangon have both enjoyed and learned from their participation in this Project, gaining language and performance skills which will serve them well in the long-term.

Standard Chartered Bank Myanmar Chief Representative Tina Singhsacha said:

Standard Chartered Bank is a firm supporter of education. We believe education is the cornerstone of sustainable economic development and we are proud to be a sponsor of this play as it provides young people an opportunity to learn English in an interactive, fun way. English is regarded as the language of international commerce and it is important for the next generation to embrace English from a young age, so that they can achieve their business aspirations and contribute to the development of Burma.

The performance will begin at 6.00pm on Friday 6 December. Tickets will be available free at the National Theatre from 5.00pm on the same day. Journalists are welcome to attend and take photographs.

Notes to Editors

  1. Shakespeare Schools is a new initiative set up in Yangon by a Theatre Producer and Education Practitioner who previously worked at Shakespeare’s Globe, London. Shakespeare Schools aim to bring Shakespeare’s writing to life by exploring Shakespeare’s language, plots and characters through performance. Shakespeare Schools projects use many of the same techniques used by professional actors and directors.

  2. Great Britain Week 2013 is organised by the British Embassy Rangoon. It began with a business showcase event on 1 December, and a Road Show with the British Ambassador travelling from Rangoon to Lashio from 2nd to 5th December. The final event will be a British Festival at People’s Park on 7 December, including a football tournament and live music show.

For more information about Great Britain Week, visit British Embassy’s facebook

Burmese translation can be downloaded here.

Burmese Translation Macbeth

Published 5 December 2013