Shakespeare Needs You

Billy Cowie

    Research output: Non-textual outputPerformance


    Shakespeare Needs You was a forty-minute ballet commissioned by Festival B:om and fORbYaRTS in Seoul, Korea, with support from the British Council. It investigated how dance can disrupt audience expectations and present new interpretations of literary theatrical traditions. The work was commissioned as part of the British Council ‘Shakespeare Lives’ 2016 programme, a worldwide series of commissions and events involving new works inspired by Shakespeare to celebrate the four-hundredth anniversary of his death.

    Cowie used inventive choreography and technical experimentation to create a work interlayered with live performance, recorded performance and projected artwork. It aimed to advance a new kind of dancework, in which a multilayered set of references exposed the boundaries between what is understood through language and what is understood through movement. Over a period of two months, artistic and technical issues were addressed in collaboration with the dancers and production team, overcoming challenges associated with the combination of live and filmed performance. The resulting work provided insights into how historic and iconic theatrical plays can take on diverse meanings through performative displacements. The research added to the performance community’s understanding of how and why live dance fused with film is a fruitful area for development in the context of the performance of an iconic theatrical text.

    Shakespeare Needs You was premiered at Cel Stage, Seoul (2016). It was celebrated by the British Council as part of its UK-South Korea dance exchange work and two extracts were performed by Laura Rios as an installation at the Havana Biennial (2019).
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationCel Stage, Seoul, South Korea
    Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2016


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