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London Underground Tube Map Gets Shakespeare Makeover

14/04/2016 12:06 | Updated 14 April 2016

The official map of the London Underground has received a Shakespearean makeover to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the death of the Bard.

The names of stations will be substituted with those of characters, plays and actors, thanks to a partnership between Transport for London (TfL) and Shakespeare’s Globe.

Each line on the Tube map has been given a specific topic, with station names reflecting the chosen theme. Icons have also been added to help distinguish the plays by genre and highlight those characters who disguised themselves as male or female in Shakespeare’s time.

Transport for London and Shakespeare’s Globe

Some of the highlights of the map include:

  • The Waterloo & City line (which only has two stops) is called “Patronage” with Elizabeth I and James I, the royal patrons of Shakespeare, replacing Bank and Waterloo stations
  • The Emirates Air Line is called “Rosencrantz & Guildenstern” after the characters in Hamlet
  • The map shows three of the theatres where William Shakespeare’s plays were performed - the Globe Theatre, Blackfriars Theatre and the Curtain Theatre in Shoreditch, which was rediscovered recently
  • The warring neighbours of Montague and Capulet from Romeo and Juliet are located next to each other on the Fathers & Kings (Jubilee) line
  • Areas of the map have also been clustered together to focus on different themes such as the London Overground from New Cross to West Croydon, which are song titles inspired by Shakespeare.

Where possible, plays and characters have also been allocated to ‘interchange’ stations where they would naturally fit on both lines. For example, Macbeth (Embankment station) is on both the “Plays” line (Circle Line) and the “Villains” line (Northern Line) and Lady Macbeth (Charing Cross) is both next to Macbeth and placed at the interchange of the “Heroines” (Bakerloo) and “Villains and Rivals” lines.

At the top end of the Overground towards Watford Junction, modern adaptions have also been combined with female actors to give continuance to the “Heroines” line. The same can be seen at the northern end of the “Heroes” (Piccadilly) line with famous male actors.

Transport for London and Shakespeare’s Globe

Chris MacLeod, TfL’s Marketing Director, said: “The works of William Shakespeare are a global institution and have been loved by young and old for more than 400 years. This new map combines two Great British icons together in a fun but informative way.”

Dr Farah Karim-Cooper, Head of Higher Education & Research, Globe Education, said: “What this wonderful keepsake reveals is that Shakespeare’s work, his characters and themes intersect with each other in fascinating ways. To think about navigating the plays in the same way we think about getting around the underground reminds us that as complex as they are, the works of Shakespeare are entirely accessible to everyone.”

The publication of the map forms part of London’s wider celebration of the playwright’s work. As well as a range of activities at Shakespeare’s Globe throughout April, performers will be interpreting works by William Shakespeare at busking sites in Tottenham Court Road, Southwark and Shoreditch High Street stations in the lead-up to the 400th anniversary. Further activity will also take place across the weekend of 23/ 24 April on MBNA Thames Clippers boats between Embankment and Tower Pier.

The special edition map will be available to buy as a 24" x 36" maxi poster or as an art print, can be purchased online or directly from Shakespeare’s Globe and the London Transport Museum from April 18. The poster will cost £3.99 while the art print will cost £15.00. A large scale vinyl of the map will also be installed at Bankside Pier near the Shakespeare’s Globe.

 Click here to pre-order the map, or to view other merchandise. 

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