Celebrate the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth!


Stratford-upon-Avon’s celebrations of the anniversary will take place on 26 & 27 April when thousands of visitors are expected in the town. The tradition of the Birthday Celebrations dates back to 1824 and brings together residents and visitors with people from the worlds of diplomacy, theatre, literature and academia in a vibrant mix of pageantry and performance. Festivities start with the grand 1,000 strong procession which parades through the town centre and finishes with the laying of flowers on Shakespeare’s grave.

Starting with a special performance on the evening of 25 April and morning of 26 April outside Shakespeare’s Birthplace, there will be an extended programme of events and activities at the five Shakespeare family homes. The RSC will be running a range of free activities in and around its theatres on Saturday 26 April, including storytelling sessions, stage fighting workshops and the chance to see how fake scars and bruises are created. 

From March the Royal Shakespeare Company will open a major new production of Henry IV Parts I & II which will play until September in repertoire in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre along with his early play The Two Gentlemen of Verona.  On Shakespeare’s actual birthday, 23 April, the RSC will celebrate with a firework display from the top of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre from 10.30pm after that evening’s performance of Henry IV, Part I.  Taking inspiration from Ben Jonson’s “star of poets” description of William Shakespeare, the display will include a recreation of Shakespeare’s face, but in pyrotechnics.

In March The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust will launch a brand new exhibition ‘Famous Beyond Words’ which will explore the extraordinary story of William Shakespeare.

A concert in Holy Trinity Church on 24 April will launch a new 3 year global singing project by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to mark the anniversary of the playwright’s birth and death. Singing Shakespeare will inspire choirs from all over the world to perform musical settings of Shakespeare. The concert will form part of the town’s Birthday Celebrations and will feature the world premiere of a new work by award-winning composer Gary Carpenter. Tickets cost £12 (adults) and concessions £9 (children 5-17, students in full time education and over 60s). Book online at www.singingshakespeare.com