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4th Ionawr 2014

Shortest ever performance of Shakespeare’s play created to mark Twelfth Night - Day 5 of The National Lottery’s ‘Just Imagine’ campaign

Sunday January 5; 2014: The world’s shortest performance of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night has been released by The National Lottery as the Twelve Days of Christmas come to an end. The 16 second micro masterpiece is one part of the ‘Just Imagine’ campaign to raise awareness of the huge impact that £31 billion in project funding has had across the UK since the first National Lottery draw 20 years ago.

The Bard’s legendary 80-page-plus comedy was condensed into just 42 words by the Royal Shakespeare Company which, over the years, has received £80m of funding from the National Lottery for a range of projects, including The Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s place of birth. £4.4 billion of National Lottery funding has been invested in the arts since 1994.

Eirik Bar, of the London-based theatre group The Icarus Theatre Collective, which has also received National Lottery funding, delivered the abridged version in full Shakespearian dress.

Speaking after filming, actor Eirik Bar said: “To deliver such a complex form of words while being timed was hard work. I enjoyed it even though I found myself getting a little bit tongue tied half way through. The positive impact of National Lottery funding on the arts means, thankfully, not all Shakespeare performances have to be this brief.”

The 16 second version of a Twelfth Night reads as follows:

“Orsino loves Olivia – unrequited
Viola & Sebastian – twins separated in shipwreck
Viola dresses as boy.
Olivia loves Viola. Viola loves Orsino.
Belch et al make a fool of Malvolio.
Sebastian marries Olivia.
Viola marries Orsino.
Belch marries Maria.
Everyone happy, except Malvolio”

To enable people to learn more about National Lottery funded projects in their area, the National Lottery has launched a ‘Good Cause Finder’. To see projects in your area, or to find out more about Just Imagine January, visit


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For press enquiries relating to the Just Imagine campaign:
Alex Bake 07552 289 290
Jim Williams 07814 068 349

For press enquiries relating to the National Lottery:
Michael Thompson, Head of Media at the National Lottery Promotions Unit, on 07734 295745.

Twitter: @lottogoodcauses #JustImagine
About the National Lottery Promotions Unit
The National Lottery Promotions Unit (NLPU) is responsible for raising awareness of Lottery funding to Good Causes. Amongst other initiatives, NLPU manages the National Lottery Awards.
National Lottery funding is awarded through 12 distributing bodies: Big Lottery Fund, UK Sport, Sport England, Sport Wales, Sport NI, Sport Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England, Arts Council Wales, Arts Council NI, Creative Scotland and the British Film Institute.
Over £31 billion has been awarded to good cause projects across the UK since the launch of the National Lottery back in 1994. Currently, £33 million of good cause funding is raised every week by National Lottery players.