On St David's Day, Cymbeline and Coram Shakespeare Schools Foundation...

This St David’s Day, we’re shining the spotlight on Cymbeline, a Shakespeare play set in Wales and it’s location's special significance to Coram Shakespeare Schools Foundation.

Cymbeline is set in ancient Britain and tells the story of a king named Cymbeline, his daughter Imogen, and their struggles against the Roman Empire. While the play features various characters from different regions of Britain, Wales plays a significant role in the story, with the Welsh king himself, Cymbeline, being a central character.

Throughout the play, Shakespeare portrays Wales and its people in a positive light, portraying them as noble and honourable. Cymbeline is depicted as a just and wise king, who is fiercely protective of his country and his people. When the Roman Emperor demands tribute from him, Cymbeline refuses, saying "Britain is a world by itself; and we will nothing pay for wearing our own noses."In addition to Cymbeline, Shakespeare introduces several other Welsh characters who are portrayed as wise and courageous. Belarius, a Welshman who is falsely accused of treason and banished from the court, is shown to be a skilled hunter and a protector of Imogen. He is a wise and loyal friend to Cymbeline, and his loyalty to the British cause is unwavering.

Another Welsh character, Polydore, serves as a messenger to the Roman court, but his true loyalty lies with Cymbeline and his country. He is instrumental in uncovering the plot against Imogen and helps to reveal the true villains of the story.

Shakespeare also uses language and imagery to highlight the Welsh identity of these characters. Belarius, for example, speaks in a Welsh dialect, and the Welsh language is used in the play, adding to the authenticity of the Welsh characters.

Shakespeare's portrayal of Wales in Cymbeline is positive, painting the Welsh people as loyal and honourable defenders of their country. The play serves as a testament to the rich cultural heritage and identity of Wales, and it's a reminder of the important role that Wales played in the history of Britain.

Of course, Milford Haven - the Welsh town that plays host to some of the play - has a special significance to Coram Shakespeare Schools Foundation. Our very first Festival performance evenings took place at The Torch Theatre in Milford Haven! 22 years later, we’re working with thousands of young people in dozens of venues UK-wide. If you’d like to find out how your young people can join us in Wales or beyond, this St David’s Day, click the link here.

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Coram SSF is a cultural education charity that exists to instil curiosity and empathy, aspiration and self-esteem, literacy and teamwork - giving young people the confidence to see that all the world is their stage.

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