Stunning Shakespeare Posters From Around The World Prove The Bard Is Universal

Shall I compare these to a summer's day?

A goth-looking, tall-haired fairy in a blood-red dress might not be how you visualized "A Midsummer Night's Dream" when you read it in high school.

In its original form, Shakespeare's play about the sway of magic over a pair of lovers and the stormy spell-casters who control them takes place in, well, midsummer -- not an eerie October woodland. But a 2007 production of the play staged in Singapore took liberties with the look.

That's the beauty of Shakespeare: his works are continually re-staged and remixed, in attempts to revamp them without losing their original intent. A new book, Presenting Shakespeare, provides a sample of the myriad ways the Bard's plays have been reimagined around the world, with posters advertising productions in the U.K., the U.S., Japan, Russia and beyond.

As a recent New York Times op-ed noted, there are plenty of reasons to oppose updating certain aspects of Shakespeare's plays. Writer James Shapiro was not happy with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's decision to hire playwrights to alter the language of the plays, making, "O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?" something more like, "Romeo, why are you Romeo?" Shakespeare's plays were confusing even to audience members in his time, Shapiro says. His words are sonorous, not always perfectly sensical.

So, by that logic, it may be best for remakes to stick with aesthetic reimaginings. Bring on the goth fairies!

  • Italy
    Matienzo Cultural Center Theatre, IT, 2014. ad/d: Marina Tercelan, p: Nora Lezano
  • Palestine
    Palestinian National Theatre, PS, 2008. ad/d: Kamel el Basha, p: Akram Safadi
  • Israel
    Habima National Theatre, IL, 1962. ad/d: Dan Reisinger
  • United Kingdom
    Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Barbican Theatre, UK, 1982. d: CS
  • Russia
    Satirikon Theatre, RU, 2004. d: A.R. Shishkin (Bakhrushin Museum O Federal State Institurion of Culture “A.A. Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum,” Moscow.)
  • Mexico
    Teatro U.N.A.M. | Teatro Juan Ruiz de Alarcon (Centro Cultural Universitario, C.U.), MX, 2008. ad/d: Sergi Rucabado Rebes
  • Puerto Rico
    Recinto de Rio Piedras, Teatro Universidad de Puerto Rico, PR, 1964. d: Lorenzo Homar, Courtesy of Susan Homar, Laura Damm, and the Coleccion Museo de Historia, Antropologia y Atre Universidad de Puerto Rico
  • Japan
    Owl Spot, JP, 2010. ad: Kiyoaki Ichikawa, d: Kaori Sato, ill
  • South Africa
    Joburg Theatre, ZA, 2013. ad/d: Ryan Honeyball, p: Lies Meirlaen
  • Australia
    University of Adelaide Theatre Guild, AU, 2011. ad/d: Peter Day
  • USA
    Belasco Theater, US, 2005. ad: Gail Anderson (SpotCo), ill: Eddie Guy
  • Singapore
    Singapore the Repertory Theatre, SG, 2007. d: Zachary Goh
  • Brazil
    Grupo Delirio Cia de Teatro, BR, 2006. ad/d: Marcos Minini, p: Marcos Minini, Stock

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