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About Ghosts of Shakespeare Festival

The Ghosts of Shakespeare festival is organized by The Arshinagar Project every year to commemorate the birth anniversary, and hence starts on April 23rd. The festival is held at multiple venue in Kolkata and its suburbs. This year we are going to take this festival to Bangalore & Delhi.


Ghosts of Shakespeare is an annual festival that is meant to confront the world of Shakespeare from the vantage of contemporary subjectivities and lived experience, as well as spaces that can be called primordial or mythical. It is meant to exist, both physically and metaphorically, in marginal spaces. This means that it intends to explore non-traditional venues, including open and public spaces, as well as to reach out to genres other than traditional ‘Shakespearean’ theatre, such as dance, ritual theatre, performance art, street performance and other forms and genres which defy any easy categorization. It looks at Shakespeare as a talisman of humanistic articulation, and hence embraces artistic actions that express disturbing and perhaps unpopular truths about the world and times we inhabit.

Keeping in mind our essentially trans-disciplinary nature (performance research, creation and theoretical discourse), we are interested in exploring Shakespeare as a living, and often disquieting presence, not as a dead icon of the ‘deadly theatre’.

‘Ghosts of Shakespeare’ reflects this – that Shakespeare has a contemporary afterlife in often unexpected forms. The spirit of it deliberately draws upon the anarchic ethos of small-scale, alternative fringe festivals in different parts of the world. We are interested in creative acts which are not big and well-funded, but rather which have rough-edges and are vulnerable. We’d like to bring together established names, emerging artists, as well as campus outfits on the same platform, without creating hierarchies. We are interested in the Shakespeare of in-betweens: between past and present, between east and west, between the sacral and the scatological – a liminal Shakespeare.

The 2016 Edition – Our Revels Now Are Ended

2016 marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. In the immortal lines from The Tempest, he speaks perhaps about himself, perhaps about the phantasmagoric world of the stage he created and inhabited. But most of all, he speaks of the human condition, of life itself. Of our primal, secret ache. How generations of human achievement disappear like shadows, leaving nothing behind them.

All around us, we are perhaps witnessing the ever accelerating shadow of death. Human lives and millennia old remnants of civilization disappear in a few instants through mindless acts of terrorism, as if they were meaningless, illusory. All diversity, indigenous ways of life – are devoured by the phantom of globalization and an insatiable culture of consumption, and more consumption. Violence frames the language of both oppression and our attempts at revolution. The living heart of the world itself is poisoned through our greed, our ruthlessness. Perhaps we will soon disappear altogether, leaving ‘not a rack behind’.

In this 5th edition of our festival, we invite you to look at death, at darkness, at the grimness and horror of our lived reality, through or perhaps in counterpoint to the sombre music that Shakespeare creates through his life-long musings on death, on ending. Your work can come from the deeply personal – the experience of those close to you die, to the socio-political, to the universal/ spiritual. As always, we are open to any form/ genre. Anything which can be presented in non-conventional spaces (no proscenium stages), with minimum technical requirements and with a cast of maximum four (including crew members). We are not able to pay for travel or a fixed fee, but we will host you locally and bear actual production costs. Hat collections will happen after each performance and the contributions passed on to the artists. The festival will as always take place in Kolkata, while some events may happen also in Bangalore (to be confirmed soon).

Please write to with thearshinagarproject@gmail.com with your application.

Call +91 8697919308 for assistance.

For report on last year’s “The Ghosts of Shakespeare Festival – The Idiot’s Tale”, please visit : http://wp.me/P2sKej-2Y


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