Inside Culture #2 (#Shakespeare400 Special)

Broadcast on 18th April 2016

On tonight’s episode of Inside Culture, we celebrate Shakespeare, 400 years after his death.

Presenter Fionn Davenport visits Belfast where 250 people are mounting a production of Belfast Tempest. Insights into the great playwright are provided by Columbia University’s James Shapiro and artistic director Joe Dowling. We also look at the first Folio edition of Shakespeare’s plays and hear him played on the Abbey Stage and the streets of Dublin.

Belfast Tempest is taking place in the historic Titanic quarter in the old docklands. It runs from April 20th to 23rd, dates which link both Shakespeare’s birthday and the anniversary of his death, on April 23rd 1616, four hundred years ago. Andrea Montgomery is the artistic director with Terra Nova Productions and is overseeing this enormous event with the help of engineers, construction workers, dancers and drummers. You can find out more information and book at or

James Shapiro is from Columbia University, and has written a number of books about Shakespeare. His latest book is 1606, William Shakespeare and the Year of Lear, and is published by Faber and Faber. He takes us back ten years before Shakespeare’s death, 1606, and tells us why that year is significant.

Frankie Gaffney is a Dublin crime writer and is currently finishing a PhD in linguistics at Trinity College Dublin. His novel, Dublin Seven, published by Liberties Press, opens with lines from Shakespeare’s As You Like It. He has a theory of how Shakespearian english could be pronounced n a Dublin accent and brings us to the heart of Dublin’s Liberties to test this out.

Othello runs at The Abbey Theatre in Dublin from 5th May to 11th June with Peter Maycon as Othello and Marty Rea as Iago. Director Joe Dowling spoke with Zoe Comyns about the half truths, jealousies and power plays that give this play legs. You can find out more information and book at

Shakespeare in Ten Acts is a new exhibition at the British Library in London. It studies ten pivotal moments, not in the life of Shakespeare but in the life of his work. It spans four hundred years from records of the first woman player, the first black Othello and travels to contemporary multi-media performances of Shakespeare’s plays. Fionn met British Library curator Zoe Wilcox and got an exclusive look at the the First Folio still in its wrapping. The exhibition runs until September 6th 2016, and you can find more information at