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7 Ways to Celebrate Shakespeare's 400-Year Legacy

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by Erin Connelly (subscribe)
I am a medievalist in the process of completing a PhD (involving medieval medicine). I travel as much as possible at home (UK) and abroad. I'm always ready for new experiences!
Published January 16th 2016
All the world's a stage
April 2016 marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death. The following is a selection from the many events taking place across the UK to commemorate his legacy.

Shakespeare by John Taylor. National Portrait Gallery. Public Domain (source: wikimedia)


1. Visit Stratford-upon-Avon

Tour Shakespeare's Birthplace

Shakespeare's birthplace. Photo by Erin Connelly


Visit the well-preserved home where Shakespeare was born, grew up, and spent the first years of his married life. The site is hosting a new exhibition Famous Beyond Words to celebrate the 400th anniversary. The exhibition explores Shakespeare's life and connections with displays of memorabilia and art. See the links above for further details.

See a Play

Stratford-upon-Avon is the home of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). The Tempest, Hamlet, King Lear, and Cymbeline are amongst the productions for this season.

Visit Shakespeare's Grave

Holy Trinity Church is the place of Shakespeare's baptism, worship during his lifetime, and burial place. Shakespeare's wife, Ann Hathaway, daughter, son-in-law, and the husband of his granddaughter are buried with him.

The church will also be hosting the Ex Cathedra Shakespeare Masque Concert on 22 April 2016, 7:30pm. The concert will present a reconstruction of Thomas Arne's musical arrangement for An Ode to Shakespeare by David Garrick (1769) and a new ode, A Shakespeare Masque, composed by the Poet Laureate, Dame Carol Ann Duffy, and set to music by Sally Beamish.

Shakespeare's burial site. Photo by Erin Connelly


2. Shakespeare Week: A National Celebration

This nationwide week-long event is focused around introducing primary school-aged children to Shakespeare's life and works. The week includes a full programme of interactive workshops, performances, and educational programmes tailored to the interests of schools, children, and families. Please see the video below for further explanation and the official site to search for events taking place in your area.



Date: 14-20 March 2016
Time: Variable
Where: Nationwide (see website)
Cost: Mostly Free; see specific events for details

3. The Complete Walk

Globe Theatre. Photo by Erin Connelly


Over the 23-24 of April, the Shakespeare's Globe Project will be showing 37 new 10-minute films on 37 screens along the 2.5 mile Thames path between Westminster and London Bridge. The films will show iconic scenes shot in the locations specified by the plays. Please see the official site for further details, which will be made available closer to the date.

Date: 23-24 April 2016
Time: TBC
Where: The Thames Path, London
Cost: TBC

4. The Sonnet Rap Marathon

Devon Glover, a New York-based rap artist known as The Sonnet Man, will give an interactive street performance of all 154 of Shakespeare's sonnets set to Hip Hop music.

Date: 24 April 2016
Time: TBC
Where: Henley St, Shakespeare Birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6QW
Cost: Free

5. Shakespeare Oxford 2016

Special events, including performances, exhibitions, art shows, dramatic readings, film showings, music, dance, conferences, and talks, are taking place across Oxfordshire for the 400th anniversary celebration. The many cultural and academic institutions, as well as libraries, archives and museums will also be taking part in the festivities. Specific highlights of the programme include: the performance of Shakespeare's complete works, Shakespeare's Dead exhibition at the Bodleian Library, and a series of lectures by the University of Oxford's English faculty. See the official website for details of the many events taking place over the year-long celebration.

6. London Symphony Orchestra

Public Domain (source: wikimedia)


The London Symphony Orchestra is celebrating Shakespeare with a series of concerts this February 2016 at the Barbican Hall. The concerts will showcase the influence of Shakespeare upon the music of Mendelssohn, Strauss, and Berlioz. There will also be a family concert suitable for children aged 7-12 years old. See the links below for booking details.

7 Feb, 2.30pm - 3.30pm: Play On, Shakespeare! Family Concert
16 Feb, 7.30pm: Mendelssohn, A Midsummer Night's Dream
25 Feb, 7.30pm: Strauss, Macbeth
28 Feb, 7pm: Berlioz, Romeo & Juliet

7. King's Shakespeare Festival 2016

Beginning in February, the London Shakespeare Centre at King's College London will be running a series of lectures, exhibitions, music, performances, debates, and film screenings in a year-long programme of activities. Events are still being confirmed, but the current schedule is available here.
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Why? A year-long programme of cultural events in honour of Shakespeare
When: See above
Phone: See links above
Where: Nationwide (UK)
Cost: See above
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