Celebrating Shakespeare 400

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Even today, nearly 6,000 miles from his home, Shakespeare is never far from mind for those of us at Western. From the Stratford stage, to nearly half of network television plots, to random quotations and quips on coffee mugs, T-shirts and newspaper headlines, The Bard has been all pervasive in lives for ages.

On Saturday, April 23, we again take note as the world marks the 400th anniversary of the death of its most celebrated English language playwright. This year, the totality of his works have been revived on stages, screens and pages in special performances and editions commemorating his life and contributions. Of course, it is not like they ever left, mind you. Shakespeare’s work has continually played or printed somewhere for as long as anyone can remember.

This week, Western News joins the celebration. We recruited this institution’s finest Shakespeare scholars to share their insights into The Bard – and play a little dress-up.

On these pages, we guarantee you will find something new about an icon we know so much about already. Each fascinating article opens up a new avenue into the man, his work and his place in society.

In addition to their written contributions, our scholars willingly dressed as their favourite Shakespearean characters. Working with Western News production designer Frank Neufeld, they quickly transformed before our cameras into what you see on our pages today.

A special thanks to our authors (and actors) for their contributions, as well as to Jo Jennings and Helga Ruppe, our colleagues in the Faculty of Arts & Humanities, who gave us not only space, but placed in our hands a vast collection of costumes and props with which to play.

And now, we lift the curtain on Shakespeare 400.