Get your New Year culture fix in London this month with Shakespeare at the cinema

Poet and playwright William Shakespeare

Poet and playwright William Shakespeare

This freezing cold weather is the perfect excuse for hibernating in the cinema. And if you visit the big screen at the City of London's revered Barbican, you can tick off your 'get cultured' New Year's resolution at the same time. Celebrating the 400-year anniversary of the death of Britain's most beloved bard, William Shakespeare, the arts centre is showing a selection of the Royal Shakespeare Company's seminal work.  

Ambitiously, I jumped straight into the middle of RSC founder Sir Peter Hall's epic 1965 Wars of the Roses trilogy with a three-hour-long screening of Edward IV. I found myself dazzled by the beauty of the grainy black-and-white tapes, which had to be switched half way through with a 20-second interlude, and captivated by the brilliantly, bloody portrayal of Queen Margaret by Dame Peggy Ashcroft. 

Donald Sinden in The Wars of the Roses trilogy

Donald Sinden in The Wars of the Roses trilogy

Vanessa Redgrave in As You Like It

Vanessa Redgrave in As You Like It

With the war trilogy now complete, the season continues with more memorable moments from theatre history, including a rare BBC studio recording of Michael Elliot's 1963 production of As You Like It, starring Vanessa Redgrave as Rosalind; Peter Brook's King Lear (1971), filmed in the snow-covered landscapes of Denmark's North Jutland; and Adrian Noble's enchanting 1994 staging of A Midsummer Night's Dream. The programme closes with David Tennant's critically acclaimed performance in the 2009 contemporary reimagining of Hamlet. Book your ticket now, as they are selling out fast.

Adrian Noble’s production of A Midsummer’s Night Dream

Adrian Noble’s production of A Midsummer’s Night Dream

RSC Shakespeare on Screen runs until 31 January, at the Barbican, Silk Street, London EC2. www.barbican.org.uk. The RSC will also be rolling out live broadcasts of Shakespeare plays in cinemas across the UK and at selected cities around the world in 2016 (www.rsc.org.uk/whats-on/in-cinemas), and there's a chance to watch David Tennant in Richard II at screenings in Hong Kong this spring (www.cinema.com.hk/en/movie/details/8595).

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