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Meadows Artist-in-Residence Will Power Creates Hip Hop Version of The Tempest

Leading U.S. performance poet commissioned for Royal Shakespeare Company's digital project myShakespeare

Press release courtesy Royal Shakespeare Company

Will Power, the acclaimed US based performance poet, playwright and hip hop artist premiered his take on Caliban's speech from The Tempest on the Royal Shakespeare Company's myShakespeare digital platform last Friday (July 27, 2012). A former Meadows Prize winner, Power will join SMU Meadows School of the Arts as Artist-in-Residence in the Division of Theatre beginning in the fall of 2012.

The hip hop rendition of Caliban's 'The isle is full of noises' speech was launched on the same day that the speech was featured as part of the Olympic Games opening ceremony. This modern take on Caliban's words was specially commissioned for myShakespeare, which launched in April 2012 as part of the World Shakespeare Festival with a digital film by Tim Minchin and performance of a new poem by Kate Tempest.

Power believes that people have different entry points into Shakespeare and his is through the rhythm. He draws parallels between the rhythm of hip hop and that of Shakespeare, and documents his process through a short four-minute film.

The commission is a unique collaboration with composer and award winning producer, Justin Ellington. Together they have created full A cappella and instrumental mixes that can be used by others to remix and make their own versions to be shared on the myShakespeare platform. The track is available to listen to on Soundcloud.

Will Power said of the commissioned piece 'Hip hop is now the widest disseminated form of poetry in history and is accessed all over the world. I have a love of Shakespeare's verse and I've enjoyed working with Justin Ellington on a classic text, it's been a great collaboration. I'm delighted to be working with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the World Shakespeare Festival, and to be given this opportunity to explore Shakespeare in a contemporary way'.

Geraldine Collinge, RSC Director of Events and Exhibitions who created and commissioned the work for myShakespeare, said 'We want myShakespeare to have as wide and varied pieces of work by as many international artists as possible, all with their different and personal ways of responding to this most famous of playwrights. So far we have commissions from Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa, Brothers McLeod and Central Saint Martins. Will's work is an exciting, contemporary take on the powerful rhythm of Shakespeare's language.'

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