British bard William Shakespeare is regarded by many as the most influential writer to date, influencing modern writing and theatre as well as language and storytelling. The Faculty of Education of NUOL and the British Embassy marked the 400th anniversary of his death with a very special celebration, attended by more than 200 NUOL students, most of which future language teachers, and selected guests. Following the official opening of the day by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Oudom Phonekhampeng, Vice President of the National University and British Ambassador Hugh Evans, NUOL students performed selected scenes from Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”. Lord David Puttnam, the UK’s cultural envoy to Laos praised the performance and then gave a lecture on the impact that Shakespeare’s work and writing still has on modern life and society.
The highlight of the Shakespeare Day was the launch of the first Lao language translations of Shakespeare works – “Romeo and Juliet” and “The Merchant of Venice”. This translation was conducted by project teams at the National University led by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Athitouthay Chatouphonexay the acting dean of the Faculty of Education. To date Shakespeare works have been translated into more than 100 languages – now including Lao – and the British Embassy Vientiane is now working to add this Lao language book featuring the two translated plays to the library collection of the Shakespeare Centre in Stratford-upon-Avon, which is the headquarters of the International Shakespeare Association and the birthplace of William Shakespeare.