A major competition to promote studying English in the UK is being launched in Latin America this weekend. Nine fully-funded study trips to the UK will attract Spanish-speaking students to enter the competition, making their own short films about Shakespeare.
The project builds on the hugely successful English is GREAT competition run by English UK in Brazil last autumn, in which students were asked to create short videos. There were 1,900 entries of which the top hundred were viewed over 85,000 times on You Tube, and press reports reached around 18m Brazilians during the early part of the campaign.
English UK is running the new competition under the umbrella of the Shakespeare Lives campaign and in partnership with the British Council.
"We're very excited about this project, which builds on what we did in Brazil," said Jodie Gray, head of market development for English UK. "We learned that students love both making and watching the competition videos, and with the help of social media, they really got our message across about the value and experience of studying English in the UK."
The competition will be launched at student fairs in Mexico City and Bogota, Colombia in October, with further promotion via British Council offices in Latin America and a promotional website. The campaign aims to reach 11,000 students in person, and 4m online. The English UK centres offering places to winners will have spaces on the exhibition stands at the two fairs.
Competition entries must be uploaded to YouTube, and the 30 most viewed by Monday 21 November will enter the final, to be judged by a panel from UK ELT. Nine winners will travel to the UK in January and February 2017, for three week courses hosted by English UK member centres in England, Scotland and Wales.
In a recent survey of more than 18,000 people in 15 countries, almost 80 per cent had experienced Shakespeare.
Of those, 76 per cent said they liked him, and 69 per cent said he was relevant to today's world, and they understood him. The survey found Shakespeare is often most popular in countries outside the UK.
In 2014, when young people from many countries were asked to name one person associated with UK arts and culture, the largest number said Shakespeare, followed by Queen Elizabeth and David Beckham.