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BBC shares iPlayer for Shakespeare celebrations

April 18, 2016

By Colin Mann

The BBC is to make programmes from not-for-profit arts organisations available via the iPlayer as part of its support for Shakespeare Lives, a six-month online festival marking the 400th anniversary of the death of the Bard.

Shakespeare Day Live on April 23 will feature special contributions from the Royal Opera House, Shakespeare’s Globe, the BFI, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Hay Festival and the Royal Shakespeare Company, broadcast online at

Shakespeare Day Live will inaugurate Shakespeare Lives – a six-month online festival, which will bring together a interpretations of Shakespeare’s work in one digital space, for audiences in the UK and around the world to experience. Highlights of Shakespeare Lives will be made available on BBC iPlayer – the first time programmes from not-for-profit arts organisations will have been brought to wider audiences through the BBC.

Shakespeare Day Live will be delivered by a team of presenters from locations across the UK and available to watch anywhere in the world.

Graham Sheffield, Director of Arts at the British Council, says: “Shakespeare is loved and performed all over the world. He remains the UK’s single most significant cultural figure 400 years after his death, a remarkable feat in itself! In the contemporary context, his work enables the exploration of complex issues, and develops stronger relationships between Britain and the world. We are delighted that, with GREAT Britain campaign support, we are able to see the work of so many great artists and organisations from the UK shared with the world through our new partnership with the BBC.”

Tony Hall, Director-General of the BBC, says: “This weekend, we’re experimenting live with digital formats like never before. Alongside a fantastic line-up on radio and television, we’re hosting a digital festival, shaped with partners, to bring their creativity to millions here and the world over. And, for the first time, the BBC will be showcasing the great talent we have in our leading cultural institutions on BBC iPlayer. It’s another step towards an open BBC – something we all believe in.”

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