After fifty years or so of political independence, Shakespeare remains a hugely significant presence in the education systems of the Caribbean (both Anglo and Hispanophone). His plays are still set-texts on most secondary school literature syllabuses, are staged at drama schools and are regularly taught at tertiary institutions.

Despite independence and in stark contrast to the de-colonising projects of writers such as Derek Walcott, George Lamming, and Aime Cesaire, Shakespeare in the Caribbean continued for many years to be a traditional, even reactionary force. His works were often taught and performed in accordance with outdated pre-independence modalities, despite an uneasy sense on the part of a growing number of younger educators and theatre practitioners that such modalities were anachronistic in a post-colonial world.

In 2016, the British Council commissioned a short documentary film to mark the quatercentenary of Shakespeare’s death.

Though clearly celebratory in tone and concept, Shakespeare in the Caribbean/The Caribbean in Shakespeare provides an exciting opportunity for young Caribbean teachers, scholars, performing artists and film-makers to “talk back” to Shakespeare, to reflect on his profound though sometimes problematic impact on their lives and their societies.

Made in partnership with the three main campuses of the University of the West Indies (Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad) as well as academics and theatre practitioners in Cuba, Shakespeare in the Caribbean/The Caribbean in Shakespeare consists of a series of thought-provoking interviews interweaved with short scenes from some of Shakespeare’s most famous plays.