Hip-Hop Shakespeare Company

April 21, 2013 by · Comments Off on Hip-Hop Shakespeare Company 

Hip-Hop Shakespeare Company, What does the language of the streets of fair Verona and the music of the streets of down town Detroit have in common?

MOBO award-winner Akala is bringing them to the young people of Glasgow.

The Hip Hop Shakespeare Company is a musical theatre production social enterprise offering young people a different view of the arts.

The company, founded by Akala in 2009, strives to inspire and enable young people to better meet their potential, express themselves and highlight their creative talent.

Central to its approach is an exploration of the social, linguistic and cultural parallels between the works of Shakespeare and modern day hip-hop artists.

Akala is presenting a lecture at the Lighthouse for the Glasgow Centre for Population Health.

Andrew Lyon, organiser of the seminar series, said: “I asked my son to explain hip hop to me because originally I thought it was all about bling and misogyny.

“He told me to look up a video of Akala from the Hip Hop Shakespeare Company.

“So I looked at it and I just thought he was really fantastic – it was a very thoughtful presentation on the origins of hip hop and the potential it has.

“I got in touch and asked if he would come to speak at one of our seminars.

“We thought that it also might encourage older people – like myself – to hear just how creative young people can be.”

As well as the public lecture, Akala will be presenting a lyric-writing and performance workshop aimed at youth groups, on Wednesday (November 21) from 1.30pm until 4.30pm.

Andrew explained: “At the Glasgow Centre for Population Health, we’re always looking for new ideas and new insight to help people understand the world.

“Young people especially have a very strong voice and a lot to say about how the world is at the moment.

“We thought it would be a great way to encourage young people to come and listen to and engage in, a set of ideas to express how they feel about the quality of their life.

“A lot of the key aspects of Shakespeare’s work is about eternal conundrums – taking action in a difficult situation (Hamlet), issues around responsibility and betrayal (Othello), how to develop good relationships in difficult circumstances (Romeo and Juliet).

“A key thing which links Shakespeare to hip hop is that, in his day, Shakespeare might well have been considered an illegitimate holder of knowledge – and I think one could say the same of hip-hop, where artists are often not considered by people outside the hip-hop world to be legitimate holders of knowledge.”

An activity during the lecture is to read lines from Shakespeare and hip-hop lyrics to see if the audience can guess who wrote what. According to Andrew, it is near impossible to differentiate between the two.