The French-Tunisian Artistes Producteurs Associés theatre company world premiered their unique adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s greatest works in London at the World Shakespeare Festival 2012 which marked the culmination of the London 2012 cultural Olympiad. It has been a great success in exploring Shakespeare’s global influence, sharing new views of his work from artists working in extraordinarily diverse cultural contexts.
The play was premiered in Tunisia at Tunis Municipal Theatre on 19 February. It then started an in-country and international tour.
"Some of the parallels between the two stories are astonishing," states the show’s director Lotfi Achour, "the repression of a rebellion during which the former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Macbeth use their positions to promote themselves; the betrayal of the established leaders; the couple who revel in crime and cut themselves off from the rest of the world; paranoia, witchcraft, irrationality. All these themes reflect the life and reign of Ben Ali."
The event also highlights the commitment to mutual benefit and exchange which has been at the heart of the British Council’s arts work in Tunisia. The Royal Shakespeare Company and the British Council, the United Kingdom's international organization for cultural relations and educational opportunities, have been working alongside Artistes Producteurs Associés for several years, after the drama company caught the attention of Mark Ball (Director, London International Festival of Theatre) and Deborah Shaw (Associate Director, Royal Shakespeare Company) in 2009. The theatre group were subsequently invited to perform Hobb Story: Instructions for Arab Love at the biennial London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT) in 2010. Artistes Producteurs Associés have since received continued support from the British Council as part of their commitment to the development of young international artists, an integral part of inspiring cultural relations through the arts.