‘Hamlet’ gets a makeover to help preserve British dialect

London, April 1 (IANS) “Hamlet”, one of William Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies, is being translated into the Black Country dialect as part of a project that aims to record, celebrate and preserve the distinctive language of the area.

“Yamlet” incorporating the Black Country word ‘yam’ will see the titular characters perform the translated excerpts portrayed by postgraduate students of Birmingham School of Acting.

The Black Country dialect is spoken in the boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton Black Country area.

“Playing Yamlet will be a great opportunity. I’ve picked up a few words and phrases from the script that I’d never heard before. It’ll be really interesting to see what people who are from the Black Country and people who aren’t will make of it,” said Stuart Ash, studying for a masters in acting student at Birmingham City University.

The work has been inspired by the upcoming 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

“Yamlet’ is designed to take a step towards making Shakespeare more accessible by relocating sections of his most famous play to the Black Country – in terms of language, space and performer – and also through non-theatre-based distribution platforms,” said Philip Holyman, Co-Director, Birmingham School of Acting in a statement.

The distinctive dialect and language of the Black Country has preserved many archaic traits from Early Modern English and Middle English and is thought to be one of the last forms of early English still spoken today.

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