In a recent survey, five thousand young adults in India, Brazil, Germany, China and the USA were asked to name a person they associated with contemporary UK arts and culture.
I'm too old to participate—thank goodness, because I might have lowered the overall rating.
Results of the international study found the playwright to be the UK's greatest cultural icon, with an overall score of 14%. The Queen came second and David Beckham came third. Other popular responses included JK Rowling, Adele, The Beatles, Paul McCartney and Elton John.
Shakespeare proved most popular in China where he was mentioned by 25% of respondents. The lowest score of 6% came from the young people in the US.
Shakespeare died on 23 April 1616 at the age of 52. His actual birth date in 1564 is unknown but it is traditionally celebrated on 23 April.
Other events to target Shakespeare's birthday today include a launch play of Hamlet in Shakespeare's Globe Theatre (spelled the English way) in London. The original Globe was built in 1599 by Shakespeare's playing company, the Lord Chamberlain's Men, and was destroyed by fire on 29 June 1613. A second Globe Theatre was built on the same site by June 1614 and closed in 1642.
The target of the two-year world tour of Hamlet is to visit every country in the world. Venues will include:
Wittenberg in Germany,
the Roman theatres of Philippopolis in Bulgaria
and Heraclea in Macedonia,
the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington,
and the Mayan ruins of Copan in Honduras.
I'm sure it will be a spectacle and unique enough to appeal to many people, with its costumes and drama. I have to wonder how many people in far-off lands will understand the words. Even I have great difficulty interpreting the meaning behind them. Now, here's my shocking revelation: I must admit to shunning every performance of one of Shakespeare's plays on television. I would never criticize such a renown author. The drama and content in his work beats anything in novel form I could write.
However, maybe the plays are past their time in modern society.
What do you think?