Shakes On A Plane!
On-Bard entertainment: RSC Sets Guinness World’s Record Aboard EasyJet
EasyJet, the UK’s largest airline, celebrated the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth (23 April, 2014) with a Guinness World Record performance by the Reduced Shakespeare Company of their reduced Romeo and Juliet from their signature production of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged).
The Reduced Shakespeare Company performed an abridged version of Romeo and Juliet in front of passengers on the 10:20am departure from Gatwick to Verona. The play lasted one hour and representatives from Guinness World Records were on board to confirm this did indeed set the world’s record for the ‘highest theatrical performance’ as it took place at 37,000 feet.
The live performance was 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 took 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 — Simon Cole, Gary Fannin, and William Meredith — performed at the front of the aircraft after rehearsing in easyJet’s Luton training centre in preparation for this unique show.
In advance of the event, 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.”
For more information about the campaign and to add your support please visit: www.easyJet.com/ShakespeareDay.
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