Russian audiences initially struggled to warm to Shakespeare’s rugged and emotion-filled plays, full of death, betrayal and skulduggery. Photo: Vladimir Vyatkin, the Chekhov ITF.

Russian audiences initially struggled to warm to Shakespeare’s rugged and emotion-filled plays, full of death, betrayal and skulduggery. Photo: Vladimir Vyatkin, the Chekhov ITF.

Russian audiences initially struggled to warm to Shakespeare’s rugged and emotion-filled plays, full of death, betrayal and skulduggery. Photo: Vladimir Vyatkin, the Chekhov ITF.

Shakespeare translations first reached Russia in the 18th century. Reactions were as mixed then as they are effusive today. The British Council's Keira Ives-Keeler walks us through the history of Shakespeare's Russian reception following the Shakespeare Globe's sold-out performance of Hamlet last month and ahead of the company's return to Moscow in the autumn.

Pictured: Ladi Emeruwa plays Hamlet at the Kyiv production of Shakespeare’s Globe world tour. Photo: British Council

Pictured: Ladi Emeruwa plays Hamlet at the Kyiv production of Shakespeare’s Globe world tour. Photo: British Council

Pictured: Ladi Emeruwa plays Hamlet at the Kyiv production of Shakespeare’s Globe world tour. Photo: British Council

Why do Ukrainians identify with issues in Hamlet? The Shakespeare's Globe theatre company performed the play in Kyiv, despite the recent turmoil in the country. Martin Dowle, the British Council's country director in Ukraine, recounts.

'During the war, if you decided to go to the theatre, you knew that decision could be the last one you ever made.' Photo of performance at the Sarajevo War Theatre by Velija Hasanbegović.

'During the war, if you decided to go to the theatre, you knew that decision could be the last one you ever made.' Photo of performance at the Sarajevo War Theatre by Velija Hasanbegović.

'During the war, if you decided to go to the theatre, you knew that decision could be the last one you ever made.' Photo of performance at the Sarajevo War Theatre by Velija Hasanbegović.

One hundred years ago, the First World War broke out. For the countries involved in it, nothing would be the same again. Ahead of a series of debates the British Council is running with the BBC, the first of which will be held in Sarajevo on 22 June, Nihad Kreševljaković, director of

'Flattery and reassurance are Lady Macbeth’s favourite persuasive tools – and isn’t the art of persuasion one we would all like to master?' Photo by Andrew Smith under Creative Commons licence.

'Flattery and reassurance are Lady Macbeth’s favourite persuasive tools – and isn’t the art of persuasion one we would all like to master?' Photo by Andrew Smith under Creative Commons licence.

'Flattery and reassurance are Lady Macbeth’s favourite persuasive tools – and isn’t the art of persuasion one we would all like to master?' Photo by Andrew Smith under Creative Commons licence.

As we celebrate the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth this year, English tutor and resource writer Genevieve White responds to some of the common problems teaching Shakespeare in the English language classroom.

'Lagos could be a lover, a friend, a shaman, an adversary, a politician, an illusion or the dream of a dreamer.' Photo by William Muzi, Creative Commons licence.

'Lagos could be a lover, a friend, a shaman, an adversary, a politician, an illusion or the dream of a dreamer.' Photo by William Muzi, Creative Commons licence.

'Lagos could be a lover, a friend, a shaman, an adversary, a politician, an illusion or the dream of a dreamer.' Photo by William Muzi, Creative Commons licence.

Two Lagosian writers explain what’s special about their city and how they captured that in stories performed as plays at the Lagos Theatre Festival last weekend. The stories had been selected as part of a British Council competition in 2013.