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First Shakespeare's complete works festival launched

Britain's major company for Shakespeare's plays launched officially on Sunday night its biggest ever festival, inviting theater companies from across the country and world to join in a unique, year-long celebration of Shakespeare's complete works.

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) is staging all of Shakespeare's 37 plays, sonnets and long poems from April 2006 to April 2007 in Stratford-upon-Avon, the mid-England town where Shakespeare was born and died.

The Complete Works Festival runs with 23 RSC shows, 17 international productions and 14 produced by visiting companies based in Britain.

The festival also presents a full program of events that will appeal to theater and non-theater goers alike. These include post and pre-show talks with actors, directors and members of the creative team; workshops with wig, make-up and props practitioners;family days; practical workshops; live music; debate and exhibitions.

The official launch of the festival took place over Shakespeare' s birthday weekend with a Montague Vs Capulet football match, behind the scenes workshops, live music and spectacular fireworks display by the river Avon on Sunday night.

The festival opens with Nancy Meckler's production of Romeo and Juliet and Gregory Doran's Antony and Cleopatra.

Also to be presented are Hamlet from South Africa, Titus Andronicus from Japan, A Midsummer Night's Dream from India, HenryIV from the Unite States, The Baghdad Richard from Kuwait, Twelfth Night from Russia.

Yellow Earth, a Britain-based Southeast Asian theater company, joins hands this year with the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center to give a fascinating new take on King Lear, shifting the scene to Shanghai and explores Lear's search for Taoist enlightenment, said RSC press officer Joanna Hammond. The play, performed in English and Chinese Mandarin, will make its premiere in Britain as part of the festival with performances from November 15-18, before going on tour until December.

Shakespeare was born on April 23 in 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avonand died on the same date in 1616. The playwright has become the inspiration for the town and consequently left a tourism heritage to his hometown. The festival is said to have received record online booking for the company.

 Source : xinhua  Editor: WuLin
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