THE Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) is to translate the entire works of the Bard into Mandarin as part of efforts to foster greater cultural ties with China.
Culture Secretary Sajid Javid announced funding of £1.5m to pay for the project, which will also cover the translation of up to 14 important Chinese plays into English to allow them to be performed to UK audiences.
A further £300,000 will go toward an RSC tour in China to take place in 2016 to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
The plans have been unveiled alongside commercial deals announced by Chancellor George Osborne to strengthen economic ties with China.
The RSC’s artistic director, Gregory Doran, said: “I profoundly believe that we foster deeper understanding between cultures by sharing and telling each other our stories.
“China has a rich dramatic heritage that mirrors the epic scale, complexity and universality of Shakespeare’s work and a national curriculum which requires young people to study his plays.
“Our plans to translate Shakespeare into Mandarin, to see translation and performance of more Chinese classics in the UK and to tour RSC productions to China will celebrate the arts and culture of both nations.”
Mr Javid added: “Creating stronger links with China is a top priority for the Government, and sharing the very best of our respective cultures is a brilliant way to make this happen.
“This funding means Western and Eastern cultures can learn from and be enriched by one another and what better way than using the works of Shakespeare.”