Chicago Welcomes the World for Shakespeare 400

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A yearlong international arts festival is underway in Chicago, celebrating the legacy of William Shakespeare and commemorating the 400 years since his death in 1616.

The festival features 1,000 artists and a total of 850 events at 120 locations throughout the city.

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Joining us to share more about the festival and the Bard's legacy are Barbara Gaines, founder and artistic director of Chicago Shakespeare Theater; and Anthony Freud, general director of Lyric Opera Chicago.

"I think Shakespeare has taught me more about the human race and the human condition than any other individual, alive or dead," said Freud. "And I don't think I'm alone in that. Shakespeare has inspired creative artists over the centuries and around the world. Shakespeare 400 gives us a wonderfully international array of that."

"The heart of Shakespeare is what's in your heart," said Gaines. "When you fall in love, your heart responds a certain way, but you know what? My heart responds exactly the same. when a woman loses a child, all of us respond in the same way. I think that kind of universality of feeling ... he has a way of making us feel connected to each other because there's actually no distance between his words and what you are experiencing."

Watch the video to hear our full discussion.

Test your Shakespeare knowledge in the quiz below.

Watch a trailer to WTTW's documentary, "Our City, Our Shakespeare:"


Shakespeare at 450

April 2014: In celebration of William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday, guests from Chicago Shakespeare Theater and the Joffrey Ballet join us to talk about the enduring influence of the Bard. 

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