“All the world’s a stage”.
On Thursday, November 25th, a group of Year 13 English students had a fantastic opportunity to explore some of the most exotic aspects of Shakespeare’s plays. ‘Shakespeare: Staging The World’, a fantastic exhibition at the British Museum, gave us an opportunity to see how Shakespeare wanted his theatre to literally become a ‘Globe’, showing audiences far distant places and cultures. As the immortal bard himself put it: “All the world’s a stage”.
Each object in the exhibition reflected some of the influences that Shakespeare would have encountered in his life. These included a female bear skull discovered buried a short distance away from the Globe Theatre which would have belonged at one time to one of the many bears being baited on the south side of the Thames, and the preserved eye of a persecuted Jesuit priest.
We listened to four lectures on how Shakespeare still has huge resonance globally. Each of the lectures shed light on a different aspect of Shakespeare’s lasting impression. The exhibition’s curator linked each of the exhibits to the new world which was opening up all around early 17th century London, while an actor showed how Shakespeare’s use of iambic pentameter can even now show thespians where to pause for breath.
All in all the study day showed that Shakespeare’s London was a city just becoming aware of how vast and incredible the rest of the world was, and Shakespeare himself was keen to delve into this new and barely understood globe.
William Sandbach (13 PFEH)