Shakespeare In and Beyond the Ghetto

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The Project

Shakespeare In and Beyond the Ghetto is a project supported by the European Commission under the Creative Europe programme.

Two landmark anniversaries coincided in 2016: the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death and the 500th anniversary of the foundation of the Jewish Ghetto of Venice, a place that provided the world with the concept of the 'ghetto'. It is also the historical backdrop to Shakespeare’s controversial play, The Merchant of Venice. Both the Ghetto and the Merchant are fundamentally ambivalent documents of European civilisation, as instruments of intolerance and catalysts for cultural exchange. Shakespeare In and Beyond the Ghetto draws on these two momentous events to reflect and respond creatively to the legacy of European racism and tolerance, and to the remarkable variety of cross-cultural exchange engendered by the Ghetto's creation and the performance of Shakespeare’s play.

This project's starting point is the historic first performance of The Merchant of Venice in the Ghetto, an event that brings into a creative relationship two milestones of European intangible and tangible heritage. The artistic and civic components of the play are then given a broader European dimension through several activities that generate substantial transnational mobility. The goal of the program – including the theatre production, a summer school, two symposia, and ten artistic workshops, programmed across three years and four countries – is to show how a multidisciplinary creative endeavour can refresh the public perception of a classic theatre masterpiece and a heritage site that have a long, tormented history in today's Europe. The final and crucial component is the dissemination of the project outcomes by way of different digital media: film, radio, and an online portal as a reference point for future studies and performances of The Merchant of Venice.


Shakespeare In and Beyond the Ghetto

Start: 01-06-2016 - End: 31-12-2018 - Duration: 31 months

Project Reference: 570754-CREA-1-2016-1-IT-CULT-COOP1

Union Grant: 199.189,07 EUR

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