London (AFP) – A Shakespearean map of the London Underground was unveiled this week ahead of the 400th anniversary of the famous playwright’s death, part of a series of eye-catching initiatives to celebrate the “Bard”.
The map replaces the names of Tube stations and lines with Shakespeare-inspired alternatives, including characters from his famous plays, modern adaptations and his royal patrons Elizabeth I and James I.
The Northern Line becomes the “Villains” line, while the Bakerloo Line is re-named “Heroines”.
The feuding Montagues and Capulets from “Romeo and Juliet” are placed next to each other on a “Fathers and Kings” line, normally the Jubilee Line.
The map also includes three theatres where Shakespeare plays were performed — the Globe Theatre, which has been rebuilt close to its original site next to the River Thames, and the Blackfriars and Curtain theatres, which no longer exist.
“What this wonderful keepsake reveals is that Shakespeare’s work, his characters and themes intersect with each other in fascinating ways,” said Farah Karim-Cooper, head of research at Shakespeare’s Globe.
The map will be available from Monday online or in paper form at the London Transport Museum and The Globe, ahead of anniversary celebrations on April 23 in Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon, central England.
British artist Willard Wigan said the anniversary had inspired him to create a microscopic painted sculpture of Shakespeare inside the eye of a needle using Kevlar and cable tie.
“I had to control my heartbeat and the pulse movements in my fingers to create this piece,” the artist told reporters earlier this month.
A new smartphone app called “ShakeSpeak” has also been released allowing users to write Shakespearean-style text messages.
The app recommends using the arcane English words “Thou”, “thee” and “thy” used by Shakespeare instead of “you”, as well as exclamations such as “What ho!”
Typing in the first few words of famous lines from his plays automatically brings up the rest of the sentence, allowing less well-read users to show off their extensive knowledge of Shakespeare.