Literature has no boundaries, especially if it is by someone as legendary as William Shakespeare. Many events have been planned across the globe for 22 April 2016, which marks the 400th death anniversary of the playwright, famously referred to as the Bard of Avon. Schools across Russia too have decided to dedicate a lesson on Shakespeare to understand his works as well as to celebrate British literature.
Despite the political dissimilarities between the UK and Russia, both the countries are now coming together to ensure a meaningful cultural relationship between them, by jointly celebrating their literary works. The British Council in Russia, which leads the UK's Year of Language and Literature 2016, have been discussing the influence of Shakespeare's works on the global culture, including that of Russia.
Michael Bird, head of the Council [in Russia] said: "Shakespeare is popular everywhere, but he's so significant here you could even think of him as being a Russian writer in some ways."
Some of the famous characters of the poet can be seen adorning a Moscow metro train, both inside and outside of the carriage, from 25 April. Moscow audiences will even have the opportunity to see the famous Chandos portrait of Shakespeare for the very first time this year. Their State Tretyakov Gallery will also feature some of the portraits of Isaac Newton, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth I, along with Shakespeare. And likewise, London's National Portrait Gallery will present Russian portraits of Tolstoy and Tchaikovsky.
"Some of these works have never left the walls of the National Portrait Gallery. And this is a fantastic act of cultural exchange and diplomacy," London gallery's director Nicholas Cullinan was quoted as saying by The Guardian.
"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players" (As You Like It) – Shakespeare's influence has not only been in Russia, but in other countries too like Mexico, India, Brazil, China and Turkey, where his plays have been performed on stage. In fact, a recent survey for the British Council suggests Shakespeare's works have been more understood in other countries than in Britain.