RSC and BBC Collaborate on Shakespeare's 400th Anniversary

The Shakespeare live event has been commissioned by Jan Younghusband for the BBC. © BBC The Shakespeare live event has been commissioned by Jan Younghusband for the BBC.

David Tennant to host a unique event in 2016, broadcast live from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, on the 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare's death.

The Royal Shakespeare Company joins forces with BBC TV to host a celebration of Shakespeare’s work and his legacy, broadcast live from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon - the town where Shakespeare was born, lived and died.

The event will be screened live on BBC Two on Saturday, 23 April 2016 to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Hosted by David Tennant, featuring a variety bill inspired by Shakespeare and performed by major international talent, it will celebrate Shakespeare's enduring influence on all the performing art forms from opera to jazz, from ballet to musicals.

Tony Hall, Director-General BBC, says: "Our ambition is to get more people excited about Shakespeare than ever before – through drama, great performance, documentary; festivals and social media too. We’re partnering with talent right across the country and delighted to be working with the RSC. 2016 is going to be the biggest celebration of Shakespeare we’ve ever put on - for everyone."

RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran says: “Shakespeare gives us a 360 degree view of what it is to be human and has inspired creativity across every art form. This live event is the highlight of what will be an extraordinary year for Shakespeare fans, and gives us a chance to celebrate just how far his genius has travelled, influencing artists down the centuries and across the world. We are delighted to join in partnership with the BBC on this and other Shakespeare projects, including collaborations on our extensive archive holdings and our national tour of A Midsummer Night's Dream: A Play For The Nation, with 13 theatre partners, amateur companies from every nation and region of the UK playing Bottom and his friends, and local children playing Titania's fairy train.”

Kim Shillinglaw, Controller BBC Two and BBC Four, says: "BBC Two is playing a central role in the BBC's Shakespeare celebrations next year and I'm delighted we will be showing this very special piece which typifies the new ambition and scale we are bringing to arts programming on the channel."

The evening is being directed by Gregory Doran and produced for television by John Wyver, Director, RSC Screen Productions. Further details will be announced later this year.

The Shakespeare live event has been commissioned by Jan Younghusband for the BBC and the Executive Producer will be Phil Dolling Head of Events.

The BBC will announce further details of its 2016 Shakespeare programming later this year.

The RSC's artistic programme for 2016 will be announced in detail in September 2015.