William Shakespeare gets a digital make-over for the ‘Instagram Generation’

Written by on 10/11/2019

Shakespeare has been given a digital makeover, in an effort to inspire the Instagram generation to connect with arguably the world’s greatest playwright.

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New research from the digital technology company, Adobe, has revealed 77% of 11-18 years olds struggle to understand William Shakespeare’s plays because of the “challenging” language used.

42% do not understand how studying his work will help them get a job in the future – while 29% said modern day interpretations of his plays would help them understand them.

As a result of the poll, The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has teamed up with Adobe to try to encourage more young people to engage with the Bard’s work.

Five UK artists, illustrators, graphic designers and photographers have been commissioned to reimagine iconic scenes from the most studied plays by Shakespeare, including the iconic balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet.

Director of Education at the RSC, Jacqui O’Hanlon oversaw the project to ensure the scenes stayed true to the original meaning of the text.

She told Sky News that studying the work, which was written centuries ago, is important.

She said: “The most brilliant thing about Shakespeare’s work is that like any great work of art, it speaks about us and our relationships and the world we live in so it always feels very contemporary”.

Ms O’Hanlon added that students find the plays “incredibly relevant to their own lives” – when they put them in the role of actors and directors where they are “exploring the interpretive choices of the text”.

She said the project makes the meaning of the texts even more visible to students and mirrors what they do at the RSC.

“What we’re doing with Adobe is what we do here at the theatre company, which is every time a play goes into a rehearsal room – we’re reimagining it.

“It was written 400 years ago but we’re always asking what does it mean to us now? It’s all part of wider efforts to encourage creative education and arts access for young people.”

O’Hanlon said that “the creative industries” – of which the arts and cultural sectors is a part – “is one of the fastest growing industries in the UK and yet we aren’t valuing that as a career path for young people”.

She continued: “What young people tell us is, whilst they understand the real value of studying arts subjects, the message they are getting, from sometimes families, the university sector, the outside world – is that those subjects don’t matter and they feel very confused about that”.

(c) Sky News 2019: William Shakespeare gets a digital make-over for the ‘Instagram Generation’


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