OnBard entertainment: easyJet celebrate Shakespeare’s 450th anniversary with world record performance. easyJet, the UK’s largest airline, will celebrate the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth (23 April) with a Guinness World Record performance of his complete works during a flight to Italy.
The Reduced Shakespeare Company will perform an abridged version of the playwright’s complete works in front of passengers on the 10:20am departure from Gatwick to Verona on Wednesday. The play will last one hour and easyJet is hoping to set a Guinness World Record in the process for the ‘highest theatrical performance’ at 37,000ft.
The live performance is part of a wider easyJet campaign to make 23 April National William Shakespeare Day. Heritage and culture remain one of the key drivers of tourism to the UK (Visit Britain report) and the airline has run a month long campaign to promote the best Shakespearean sites to UK visitors as well as staging free performances of the playwright’s work at check in desks.
The production will take place onboard a special edition easyJet plane complete with a ten foot image of the Bard on the fuselage. Three actors from the Reduced Shakespeare Company will perform at the front of the aircraft and have been rehearsing in easyJet’s Luton training centre in preparation for the unique show.
Paul Moore, Communications Director for easyJet said: ”William Shakespeare is Britain’s most famous author so easyJet is proud to back the bid to make 23 April his national day. To mark the 450th anniversary of the Bard’s birth The Reduced Shakespeare Company will perform his complete works onboard an easyJet flight to Verona for the first time. We hope to set a new Guinness World Record in the process for the highest ever theatrical performance as well as providing a highly entertaining show for passengers.”
“Our campaign to make 23 April National Shakespeare Day has run throughout April with seat back advertising on hundreds of flights, free performances at airports and information in our inflight magazine which is read by 5 million passengers a month. We are asking our UK passengers to sign the petition while suggesting to those from the rest of Europe that they visit the land of Shakespeare to learn more about him and see his works performed.”
The petition to make 23 National William Shakespeare Day has been backed by Stratford-Upon-Avon MP Nadhim Zahawi and Bloomsbury Publishing and needs 100,000 signatures by the end of July to take the debate to Parliament.
Nadhim Zahawi, MP for Stratford-upon-Avon said: “Is it a Bard, is it a plane? William Shakespeare is one of Britain’s greatest gifts to the world, ‘he was not of an age, but for all time’, and I have long argued this sceptre’d isle should celebrate April 23 as a national holiday. I’m delighted that easyJet have chosen to campaign on this issue.”