British Council Shakespeare Lives Programme

As part of our Shakespeare on Screen season we are delighted to hosts at the 2016 Cornwall Film Festival a programme of the British Councils Shakespeare Lives short films

Twelfth Night

Released on 5 January, SBTV’s ‘Twelfth Night’ sees 5 UK artists; Maverick Sabre, Nego True, NoLay, Eyez and Mic Righteous, produce new lyrics drawing inspiration from Shakespeare’s play of the same name. Also featuring an original beat by producer Harry Love, and shot in The Globe’s Sam Wanamaker theatre, the piece reworks Shakespeare for a modern audience.

Production Company: SBTV

Director: Kane Chattey

Star Cross’d

The second film in our collection, Star Cross’d is poet writer and illustrator Laura Dockrill’s take on Romeo & Juliet. Filmed on a windswept English beach, two houses ‘both alike in common crime’ wage a turf war over ice-cream. Will true love win out over the tutti fruit?

Production Company: Bark Films

Director: Rick Stanton, Hector

Julius Caesar

The third film in the collection is an adaptation of Act I Scene II from Julius Caesar, and documents a near future Brutus and his conspirators plotting the assassination of Julius Caesar. Directed by Pedro Martin-Calero and stars Mark Stanley (known for his roles in Game of Thrones and Dickensian) as Brutus and Toney Osoba as Julius Caesar. The film was shot on location at the Treasury Bowl and in various locations in the Foreign and Commonwealth office, with Durbar Court being the striking marbled floored room that Brutus sits in.

Production Company: Blink Productions

Director: Pedro Martin-Calero


The fourth film in our series of contemporary re-imaginings of Shakespeare’s work is an adaptation of Act I Scene V from Macbeth that combines both live action and manga. Filled with imagery of death and destruction, it documents the plotting Lady Macbeth’s powerful soliloquy after reading a letter from her husband about his meeting with the three witches.

The film is directed by David Wilson of Colonel Blimp and stars Vicky McClure (known for her role in the This is England film series) as Lady Macbeth.

Production Company: Colonel Blimp

Director: David Wilson

Miranda’s Letter

The fifth in the creative films series, Miranda’s Letter’ is a moving story which explores mother and daughter relationships, or more often lack of the same in Shakespeare’s cannon. Inspired by ‘The Tempest’ and filmed on the beautiful South Devon coast the film is both visually and emotionally poignant.

Director Theresa Griffith’s said of making ‘Miranda’s Letter’:

There has been much written recently about the lack of women directors. I felt strongly that I wanted to bring something to Shakespeare Lives which, in a small way, tried to address this. A story about motherhood and a young girl’s experience is, of course, not exclusively one for a female director or audience, but it springs from my own experiences.  

I started to think about Shakespeare’s work and the female characters in his plays and then, as a mother myself, I began to think about his portrayal of motherhood. It was then that it struck me – there are a lot of missing mums in Shakespeare’s plays. King Lear’s daughters have no mother within the play, neither does Ophelia and neither does Miranda in The Tempest, one of my favourite plays.  

Not to be there for your child, not to see them grow, must be every parent’s worst nightmare. It is impossible to imagine the anguish it must cause. Of course, a simple Google search turns up pages of just such pain, there for all to witness in blogs and newspaper stories. I simply absorbed this story from what I read and the script just followed. This is where Miranda’s Letter began…..

Production Company: Little Tree Films

Director Theresa Griffiths

Come to Me; Blues for as You Like it

The sixth in our short film collection celebrating Shakespeare’s legacy in 2016, Come to Me takes inspiration from the songs found in As You Like It, and explores the lifecycle of a romantic relationship reflected in the changing seasons. Director Prasanna Puwanarajah, and musician Anjana Vasan (currently starring as Hermia in Emma Rice’s inaugural production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Shakespeare’s Globe) present a musical triptych, which takes our audience on an emotional journey charting the beginning of a relationship through to it’s disintegration. 

Production Company: Tomboy Films

Director: Prasanna Puwanarajah

The Prince of Denmark; a story vaguely inspired by Hamlet

The seventh film in our Shakespeare Lives series, ‘The Prince of Denmark’ is a dark comedy inspired by Hamlet. Set in a quintessentially English pub, our young Hamlet (Sam Coleman, ‘Young Hodor’ in Game of Thrones’ returns home to his mother Gertrude (Ronni Ancona) from university to find ‘something rotten’ behind the bar – his uncle Claude (Michael Nardoni – The Night Manager)

Writer/director duo Kirkland and Rafalat’s take on Hamlet finds laughter in this well know tale of revenge and murder.

Production Company: Rumble Productions

Director: Kirkland and Rafalat

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

In “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, Viktoria Modesta (bionic pop-artist) and Director Sing J. Lee take inspiration from Shakespeare’s play of the same name, and explore themes of love, infatuation and distorted reality to create a near future world in which we meet Titania, a bionic woman who’s increasing obsession with herself compels her husband Oberon to make her the subject of his latest experiment. Titania is transported to a virtual world where she engages in a courtship dance with a mysterious figure however, as with the play, in this virtual ‘forest’ not all is as it originally appears…

Production Company: Partizan films

Director: Sing J. Lee