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UWL celebrates the works and influence of Shakespeare

Over the last two weeks, we've been celebrating the works and influence of one of the greatest creative thinkers - William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616).

Shakespeare400, our interdisciplinary arts festival, gave us the opportunity to bring together a series of performances and workshops from different schools within the University.

Read below for a summary of just a few of the fantastic events.

Bardertising. How Shakespeare sells and spinsBardvertising

The advertising and public relations courses hosted Bardvertising. The evening started off with a series of mini-talks, during which faculty and industry guests shared their thoughts on Shakespeare's impact on modern promotional communication. Advertising Lecturer Kristin Brewe discussed the ubiquity of Shakespeare in advertising, content marketing guru, Tim Gibbon showcased a Shakespeare-themed campaign at Selfridges, Dr Shelley Aylesworth-Spink explored crisis communications as exemplified by King Lear, and MEC's Social/Content Director, Maria D'Souza, widened the conversation to the relationship of art itself and advertising.

After the mini-talks, a panel discussion was led by Jen Bartram, radio lecturer and BBC presenter. Students had time for Q&A before attending a lively post-event networking session, getting a chance to speak with different members of faculty from other disciplines, as well as our industry guests. Kristin Brewe, the event organiser commented on the evening:

The evening was a fitting celebration of Shakespeare and a great opportunity for students to practice one of the most important skills in any industry: networking.

A Winters Tale

A Winters Tale concert included performances from Glee and Voxes of musicals inspired by Shakespeare, such as Lion King (Hamlet), Kiss Me Kate (Taming of the Shrew) and The Boys from Syracuse (The Comedy of Errors). It also included the song, The Compleat Works, by Cleo Laine and John Dankworth which includes the titles of all of Shakespeare’s plays in one catchy jazz tune.

Part of the concert was given over to the jazz department and the sizeable audience was entertained by the LCM Big Band and the LCM Jazz Vocal Ensemble. The repertoire was a mix of old favourites interspersed with some seasonal fare. These were very well-received and it was encouraging to see so many students in attendance supporting their peers.

Two of the works played were arranged by alumni of the LCM Big Band proving, as (Head of Jazz) Pete Cook said that 'You never leave the LCM Jazz family'.

A group of singers at A Winters Tale

West Side Story

A scene from West Side Story

West Side Story has gone from strength to strength. After launching three casts on three successive evenings, they settled down to a two-week run; unusual for our productions which usually only perform six shows in four days.

Playing to near-capacity houses in Weston Hall, and receiving standing ovations from the audience after each performance, it really has been a success for all involved. The production has brought together students from live sound, theatre production, performance, music management, and musical theatre to produce a lively and entertaining realisation of one of the greatest musicals ever written.