Reimagine Shakespeare: The Importance of Creativity in Education

by Adobe UK Team

Posted on 10-22-2019

As part of our continued partnership with the RSC and our common goal of bringing creativity into the classroom we teamed up with five incredibly talented UK artists and photographers to reimagine Shakespeare for the 21st century via illustration, photography and comic book artistry, using Adobe Creative Cloud tools.

The importance of creativity in education cannot be underestimated, and the resulting works are a masterclass in how taking a timeless classroom topic – Shakespeare – and interpreting it in a less traditional way, can deliver incredible results. By transposing iconic scenes from Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream into the modern day, this new digital art series is designed to help teachers make this most popular of playwrights resonate more with young people who are perhaps a bit more clued up on emojis than sixteenth-century etiquette.

Creativity is Crucial in the Workplace of the Future

Following news in August of a decline in the number of young people studying English at A-Level, we commissioned a piece of research which found that 42% of 11-18 year olds in the UK don’t understand how studying Shakespeare will help them get a job in the future. So-called ‘soft’ skills such as creative thinking, communication and adaptability, which can be developed by studying such topics, are becoming increasingly important in a world where artificial intelligence is taking over more and more jobs that a human would have previously done. The more creative today’s young people are, the better prospects they will have for future employability.

It’s vital that we, as a creative technology company, support teachers to nurture the creative problem-solving skills of the next generation, assist schools in reaching their full potential when it comes to adopting new creative and digital learning tools, and ensure tomorrow’s workforce is equipped with the skills and expertise to thrive in their future careers.

Inspiring Classroom Creativity

The same technologies changing the world of work also create an opportunity to integrate digital learning into lessons, no matter the subject. Our partnership with the RSC seeks to help young people develop the essential creativity and critical thinking skills they will need in their careers and empower teachers with the knowledge and the tools they need to make this happen.

Together with the RSC, we’re supporting teachers in making Shakespeare accessible, relatable and relevant to young people through digital and creative tools. We carried out some research speaking to 2,000 11-18 year olds, who told us they struggle to understand William Shakespeare’s plays due to the challenging language (77%), whilst 29% thought that bringing the plays into the modern day would help them better understand the original texts. To bring this to life, we commissioned five UK creatives to give Shakespeare a 21st century makeover using Creative Cloud.

Photographer and conceptual artist Darryll Jones has reimagined the iconic balcony scene between Romeo and Juliet featuring his Stormtrooper character Eric. The young lovers exchange text messages – the modern iteration of courtship – before they drive off on a motorbike.

Comic book artist Amrit Birdi puts a modern spin on A Midsummer Night’s Dream by positioning it as a superhero fantasy in an urban jungle rather than a forest.

Illustrator and Adobe’s UK Creative Resident Octavia Bromell recreates Romeo and Juliet’s first meeting in a hipster café instead of at a banquet.

Digital artist Jack Teagle’s take on one of the most famous scenes from Macbeth sees Macbeth and Banquo return from a road trip instead of the battlefield, whilst the witches use modern technology to prophesise about Macbeth’s future.

Photographer Rosie Hardy brings A Midsummer Night’s Dream fairy Titania to life in her signature fantasy style.

The Tools to Succeed

To reimagine Shakespeare, our creatives used a variety of Adobe tools such as Lightroom, Photoshop, Premiere Rush, Fresco, Premiere Pro, Illustrator and Draw. But for us, a big part of creative democracy is equipping the next generation of talent with the skills they need to succeed, which means we don’t only create tools aimed at creative professionals.

We’ve worked hard to make Adobe’s technology as accessible as possible for schools, teachers, and students. Adobe Spark for Education, which is already accessed by millions students and teachers worldwide, is completely free for all educational institutions and makes it easy for students and teachers to create videos, web pages and posters to help improve creative literacy. For primary and secondary schools, Creative Cloud, which includes all the incredible industry-standard technology like Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and more, is available for only £5 per student per year (which includes work-from-home rights for students to do their homework!). Finally, for college and university students, or teachers that are looking for their own license, we have our Student and Teacher Edition available directly from with a discount of up to 65%.

Making our technology accessible to young people is one way we are trying to help bridge the skills gaps. In order to support teachers in incorporating these skills into the classroom, we are also providing CPD and learning resources that we hope can be easily brought in to inspire the next generation. With Shakespeare’s work specifically, we worked with the RSC to create a series of amazing teaching resources that are already going down a storm in classrooms across the country!

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Topics: Creativity, Creative Business, Reimagine Shakespeare, UK, UK Exclusive, Creative EMEA

Products: Creative Cloud