The British Library has launched a new exhibition that looks at how William Shakespeare’s work has been reinterpreted over the course of hundreds of years.
Shakespeare in Ten Acts focuses on 10 key performances on the bard’s work, from the first performance of Hamlet in 1603, to a new interpretation of his work for the digital age in 2013.
As well as that, the display will include treasured Shakespearean items, including the only surviving play in his hand, and the writer’s First Folio.
Zoe Wilcox, the lead curator of the project, said: “2016 is a really important year for Shakespeare because it is the 400th anniversary of his death and here at the British Library, we are commemorating that with our biggest ever Shakespeare exhibition all about the performances that made Shakespeare into the icon that we know today.”
Other items on display include original costumes from famous performances, including one worn by Oscar-winning actor Mark Rylance, and an inscribed human skull, given to actress Sarah Bernhardt by the writer Victor Hugo.
Various playbills are on display as well, highlighting the the career of Ira Aldrige, the first black actor to play Othello on the English stage in 1825.
Writer and critic Andrew Dickson said: “I think Shakespeare is hugely relevant today.
“One of the things that is interesting walking around this exhibition is just how many places the work has visited, how many different cultures Shakespeare exists in, how many idffernt languages, how many different forms.
“It is very hard to be sure of numbers, but billions of people must have been exposed to Shakespeare’s work in some form, whether it is through Japanese manga, or Bollywood movies, or seeing the plays on stage. That’s the amazing thing.”
The 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death is on on April 23 2016.
Shakespeare in Ten Acts launched on April 14. For more information, click here.