The final conclusion of Shakespeare Lives in Italy took place today in Rome in the Nuova Auletta of the Parliamentary Groups of Montecitorio. It is the culmination of a programme of events and initiatives promoted by the British Council and the British Embassy, together with the Department for International Trade, and the agency for the promotion of tourism in Britain, Visit Britain, to celebrate William Shakespeare 400 years after his death.
William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon on 23 April 1564 and died on 23 April 1616, leaving a cultural heritage of 37 theatrical works, 12 of which set in Italy, and 154 sonnets. His works have been translated into over 100 languages and are read and studied every year by millions of students throughout the world. Today, Shakespeare’s works, which have inspired more than 1,000 cinematographic and television productions, are alive in the English language, in British culture and society, and in the influence that his genius continues to exert, well beyond the borders of the United Kingdom.
After the launch of the Italian campaign on 27 January in Milan, with the presentation of the Intercultural British Award to Gigi Proietti, who has been the artistic director of the Globe Theatre in Rome for thirteen years, Shakespeare Lives in Italy has continued for the whole of 2016 with events and initiatives throughout the whole country, on the web and on both the small and large screen, thanks to support of prominent partners like the Associazione Nazionale dei Comuni Italiani, Bologna Children’s Bookfair, Feltrinelli bookshops and RAI, which was the main media partner for the campaign, with special programmes running on RaiNews24, Rai Cultura and Radio 2.
This morning’s event at Montecitorio is the fruit of collaboration between the British Embassy in Italy, and the Parliamentary Group Friends of Italy and UK, with the attendance of the British Ambassador Jill Morris and Senator Michela Montevecchi, president of the parliamentary group.
In the course of the morning over 250 pupils from Italian schools presented examples of their work based on texts by the Bard, witnessing to the influence and fascination that his works continue to exert, especially in Italy.
Paul Sellers, director of the British Council in Italy, presented a preview of two episodes from the series “Walking Cities”, documentaries made by the British Council and dedicated to the places which are symbols of Shakespeare in Italy, including Rome and Verona.
Also participating in the event was the National Academy of Dramatic Art “Silvio D’Amico”, which along with Francesco Montanari, a well-known actor in Italian television, brought to life texts of William Shakespeare in an unusual institutional setting.
During the special event at Montecitorio the British Ambassador Jill Morris stated:
I am particularly happy that the success of the Shakespeare Lives in Italy campaign, that has reached millions of Italians in recent months, is celebrated today in such an important institutional setting. The presence of so many young people from Italian schools, meeting together in the name of the most famous British playwright, reminds us just how much Shakespeare represents, even after 400 years, the symbol of the passion and the special relationship that unites our two countries.
Senator Michela Montevecchi, president of the Parliamentary Group, Friends of Italy and UK, commented:
It is an honour to host this event in parliament and conclude a year of celebrations dedicated to a giant of the world of literature: an acute observer, a creator of universal dramas, a third of which were set in Italy, which continue to be an inexhaustible source of inspiration and provide tools to interpret the world around us. This is why it is important to actively involve pupils and to transform Parliament, for a day, into a workshop on Shakespeare.