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450 years of Shakespeare: Britain plans year-long birthday party

world Updated: Jan 12, 2014 20:48 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times
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To mark 450 years since the birth of William Shakespeare, the playwright and poet regarded as the greatest writer in the English language, a host of events have been lined up in Britain and across the world.

The date of Shakespeare’s birth at Stratford-upon-Avon in England is not known, but he is recorded to have been baptised on 26 April, 1564. He died aged 52 on April 23, 1616.

London, which was the setting of some of Shakespeare’s first plays, will host several events during this year, mainly at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre.

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s events comprise theatre performances in London and elsewhere, and live streaming around the world.

Stratford-upon-Avon will celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday like every year, but this time the town in Warwickshire will have more parades and pageantry, music, and special events at the Shakespeare Houses.

The Victoria and Albert Museum will mark the anniversary with two exhibitions.

‘Shakespeare: Our Greatest Living Playwright’, a multimedia installation, will showcase rarely seen objects from the museum’s collections – including the First Folio, the book printed in 1623 that first collected most of Shakespeare’s plays, and a real human skull, given to French actress Sarah Bernhardt by novelist Victor Hugo for her performance as Hamlet in 1899.

A second exhibition, Shooting Shakespeare, in collaboration with Shakespeare’s Globe, features archival and contemporary photographs of performances.

Shakespeare Week (March 17 to 23) will also be celebrated in schools, theatres, historic sites, museums, galleries, cinemas, and libraries across Britain. During the week, organisers aim to give every child the chance to be inspired by Shakespeare and express themselves.