In 2016 the stars aligned. It was the year of an extraordinary intersection, the 500th anniversary of the formation of the Jewish Ghetto in Venice and the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. To commemorate these historic events, Ca’Foscari University of Venice invited the international company Compagnia de’ Colombari to provide a major event of world theatre: an imaginative, ambitious production of The Merchant of Venice performed for the first time in the still-extant (and newly revitalised) Jewish Ghetto on 26-31 July 2016. The production was directed by Karin Coonrod with an international cast performing in English and multiple languages. This site specific, open-air performance brought The Merchant to life in a way almost impossible anywhere else; investigating its poignant and painful exploration of love and hate, avarice and mercy, and, above all, what it means to be human. The event is part of the official program of the Ghetto Quincentennial and the centrepiece of the Creative Europe project Shakespeare in and beyond the Ghetto.