2016 saw the launch of the Shakespeare Lives campaign in China - a major programme of events and activities celebrating Shakespeare’s work in the 400th anniversary year of his death. This is a UK government lead campaign and is designed to spark cultural, educational and economic exchange, through the shared language of Shakespeare.
As part of the global Shakespeare Lives campaign, the British Embassy Beijing, are hosting Shakespeare-themed events in eight Tier 2 and 3 cities across China. This event held on the 14th October in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, was jointly organised by the British Embassy and British Council and brought together students from School No. 56 and China Queens College to perform excerpts from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest. The performances were part of a wider dialogue on the future of elderly care in China and the UK’s expertise in the elderly care sector. There were also readings of Shakespeare’s poetry by senior citizens at the event.
Across China this year, the British Embassy and Consulates are supporting drama and artistic groups in their exploration of Shakespeare’s iconic works. This event was a perfect example of how Shakespeare’s works are accessible to everyone. Over 160 people attended the event to watch the performances. A keynote speech was also delivered at the event by Richard Homer, Head of Regional City Engagement at the British Embassy Beijing.
Cooperation and exchanges between the UK and Liaoning province have grown in recent years. This has included the successful UK in Shenyang Week in 2014, high level visits in both directions and the development of partnerships in a range of areas, including advanced manufacturing, research and development, financial services, sustainable urbanisation, arts and culture and education. Northern Ireland is also continuing to develop its own links with Liaoning. Shenyang is actually twinned with Belfast, the home of Queens University.
Richard Homer, Head of Regional City Engagement at the British Embassy Beijing, welcomed the chance to host such a vibrant and topical event in Shenyang. He said:
I’ve been inspired by our discussions here today. The UK and China are both seeking modern and innovative solutions to enhance the quality of life for our increasingly ageing populations.
Through our dialogue we have been able to share experience and learn best practice from the public and private sector and from academia. I was also extremely impressed by the Shakespeare performances I saw earlier this afternoon.
It is fantastic that different generations are able to be part of the global Shakespeare Lives campaign. I look forward to ever closer cooperation between the UK and Liaoning province in all these different fields.
As the UK and China both face up to the challenge of rapidly ageing populations, we share the same goal of aspiring to provide our senior citizens with a better lifestyle. The UK has a well-established elderly health and care service system with our National Health Service (NHS), as well as an elderly care industry providing needs-based care for the elderly.
During the dialogue in Shenyang, UK experts and businesses shared their experience in elderly care facility design, operation, talent training, and academic research, which can all be applied to improve the quality of life of elderly residents in Liaoning province and Northeast China as a whole.