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Demonstrating the modern relevance of Shakespeare

Working with the British Council, we have created a collection of essays that explores the relevance of Shakespeare in society, demonstrating the significance, context and connection that Shakespeare has with current matters on a global scale.


As part of British Council's ongoing Shakespeare Lives programme, which marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the series of essays brings together eminent writers from around the globe, from Nobel-prize winning writers to politicians, exploring themes that are poignant and relevant within their society, and the connection that Shakespeare still has to these matters.  

Each author was invited to write from a personal perspective, and the diverse set of contributors draw on contemporary, social, political and emotional experiences to make comparisons with Shakespeare’s works. Alongside US Secretary of State John Kerry, other authors include: Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, Bollywood actress Kalki Koechlin, Ahlem Mosteghanemi – the most popular writer in the Arab world, renowned South African director and actor John Kani, deaf solo percussionist Evelyn Glennie, Lebanese choreographer Alissar Caracalla and Chinese author Hong Ying.   Working with the Shakespeare Lives brand, True North were tasked with bringing the essays to life and producing a piece of print which would be shared through British Council networks across the world.   


Senior Designer Adrian Newell, explains ‘whilst initially briefed to house all essays within a single publication, we went on to develop a set of typographic essays, each printed with three special colours, which were then housed within a specially designed pack’.  


Sarah Giles, Shakespeare Lives Project Manager, says: “We presented True North with the challenge of creating a collection of essays that were both beautiful as a physical object, but also accessible for online distribution. The team had the challenge of working with translated texts, fluctuating content and a lack of visual assets beyond the visual identity. They responded with a beautiful collection that feels contemporary and sophisticated, reflecting the serious nature of the content while remaining accessible to a range of audiences. The essays have since generated huge interest from teams around the world, reflecting the success of speaking to an international audience, while garnering established press”. 


The Living Shakespeare essays are currently being brought to life on screen through a series of BBC World Service short films.  

All the essays can be downloaded from here:

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