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Anglia Ruskin University students take Shakespeare in new directions

Shakespeare’s Globe has released seven short films – each produced by Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) students – inspired by famous plays.

Still from The Marvellous Prospero, a collaboration between Anglia Ruskin University and the Globe
Still from The Marvellous Prospero, a collaboration between Anglia Ruskin University and the Globe

The 60-second Shakespeare films each include some text from one of his original plays, but then jump in new directions, highlighting how Shakespeare can inspire in today’s digital world. For example, The Marvellous Prospero has been transplanted to the set of a superhero movie, while Celestial sends characters from Much Ado About Nothing on a NASA mission to space.

The collaboration involved ARU students visiting the Globe theatre in London, and director Kevin Bennett working with students on campus. The final films feature high production values and professional actors, including Ekow Quartey and Robert Firth.

Hans Petch, lecturer in film and television production at ARU, said: “We received 23 proposals and from these, I worked with Dr Will Tosh, from Shakespeare’s Globe, to whittle these down to seven ideas that went forward. Each film had to include some original text, but how much or how little was down to the students.

“Typically, short Shakespeare films have involved monologues to camera, but these seven films are all incredibly creative and feel very different. Some of the films involve entirely new narratives, placing the original characters in new stories and locations.

“What was so special about this project was that it wasn’t part of the students’ course. It was open to anyone in the faculty and the seven films were real labours of love, each written, developed, and filmed in the students’ own time.

“They have been made by students from a range of courses, including illustration, drama, film studies, as well as film and TV production, and the final films are all enjoyable, accessible, and incredibly ambitious.”

ARU and Shakespeare’s Globe first collaborated last year, with ARU students producing five films on the theme of climate change, despite challenging Covid restrictions. A special Sixty Second Shakespeare screening will take place at the Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge, on Friday, July 1.

For more information, visit bit.ly/3Nb0vD1.

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