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Shakespeare Day: celebrate the 453rd birthday of England's national poet this weekend

Story added 21st Apr 2017

'How many ages hence
Shall this our lofty scene be acted o'er
In states unborn and accents yet unknown!'

Sunday 23 April is Shakespeare Day as we celebrate the 453rd birthday of England’s national playwright and poet!

Centuries after he lived and died, William Shakespeare’s work continues to be staged, read and reinvented worldwide. ‘He was not of an age,’ wrote his contemporary Ben Jonson, ‘but for all time!

His birthday will be marked by celebrations in London and beyond, and we’ve provided suggestions below for what to do and see. We’ve also presented our top picks of current and upcoming Shakespeare productions in London, plus a selection of courses at Build for those who want to discover more about the ‘Bard of Avon’. 

Shakespeare's birthday celebrations

Shakespeare's Globe on the Southbank are hosting a great weekend of events and performances, including sonnets walks through London, family storytelling sessions, and a special event at Westminster Abbey.

On Thursday 27 April, Kingston University will be holding its Shakespeare Seminar in conjunction with the Rose Theatre. This free event features Sir Stanley Wells, Britain's preeminent Shakespeare scholar and President of Stratford's Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. 

Further afield, extensive celebrations will be held in Shakespeare's birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon, including the annual parade, live music, acrobatic displays, drop-in activities and live performances of the sonnets.

Productions in London


Robert Icke’s acclaimed production of the play, starring Andrew Scott (Sherlock), is transferring to the West End in June.  

Romeo and Juliet

Two households. Two children. One love. One fate.’ The Globe’s new take on this tragic romance opens on Saturday 22 April.

Twelfth Night

There’s still time to catch Tamsin Grieg in Simon Godwin’s extravagant reimagining of Shakespeare’s classic comedy.

Courses at Build

Speaking Shakespeare
Wed, day, 24 Apr – 31 May, 10:15-12:15 

Shakespeare, Jonson and the supernatural
Fri, day, 5 May – 14 Jul, 10:15-12:15

Shakespeare workshop
Wed, day, 14 Jun -  19 Jul, 12:30-14:30

Play in a day: Cymbeline
Sat, day, 24 Jun, 10:30-16:30


>> Browse History, culture & writing courses at Build.

Image of Globe Theatre copywright Diego Delso,, via Wikimedia Commons.

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