To mark Shakespeare’s 455th birthday, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has planned a special programme of celebrations in honour of Stratford’s most famous son and the world’s greatest playwright, with a vibrant mix of entertainment and performance. The free, family-friendly programme will run all day in Henley Street, right in front of the very house where Shakespeare was born.

On Saturday, 27th April Henley Street will come alive with an exciting line-up of pageantry and performance. Kicking-off this year’s celebrations at 9.30am will be traditional country dancing by local school children. The birthday parade will arrive at Shakespeare’s Birthplace at around 10.30am, where ‘Mr Shakespeare’ will call in to collect the ceremonial laurel wreath and lead the parade down Henley Street.

The party atmosphere continues throughout the afternoon with a series of dance performances by local community groups showcasing dance styles through the ages, from traditional to contemporary. Enjoy watching the actors from Shakespeare Aloud! as they perform fight scenes from some of Shakespeare’s most famous plays.

The gates to Hall’s Croft garden will reopen for the annual Knights and Nymphs children’s party. Popular with families, there’s plenty of fun to be had with a dressing up box, face painting, garden games and delicious treats including a barbecue and fizz for the grown-ups. Entrance to the garden is free.

Throughout the weekend of 27th and 28th April, Stratford-upon-Avon (CV37) residents can also take advantage of free entry to all five Shakespeare Family Homes and a slice of birthday cake, while stocks last. Proof of address required.

The Shakespeare Birthday Lecture takes place at the Shakespeare Institute on Friday, 26th April at 4pm, featuring special guest speaker and this year’s Pragnell Shakespeare Award recipient, Professor Jerzy Limon O.B.E., founder and artistic director of the Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre in Poland, in conversation with Professor Michael Dobson, Director of the Shakespeare Institute. Tickets cost £10 and are available to purchase online at www.shakespeare.org.uk or by calling 01789 339804.

For more information and to plan your visit, see www.shakespeare.org.uk/whatson.

Full Listings:

Friday, 26th April, 4pm – 5.30pm

The Shakespeare Birthday Lecture

Shakespeare Goes to Gdansk

The Shakespeare Institute, Mason Croft, Church Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6HP

Tickets: £10; SBT Friends £8 www.shakespeare.org.uk/whatson or call 01789 339804.

Join Professor Jerzy Limon O.B.E., founder and artistic director of the Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre in Poland, in conversation with Professor Michael Dobson. Presented in partnership with the University of Birmingham.

Saturday, 27th April

9.30am – 10.30am: Country Dance Performance

Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon

Kick-off the annual Shakespeare’s Birthday Celebrations with a country dance performance by local school children outside Shakespeare’s Birthplace on Henley Street. Then join in the Birthday Parade through the streets of Stratford.

12pm-4pm: Knights & Nymphs Children’s Garden Party

Hall’s Croft, Old Town, Stratford-upon-Avon

The annual Knights and Nymphs children’s garden party is the perfect excuse for the little ones to celebrate Shakespeare’s Birthday in style. Dress up as a Knight or a Nymph, have your face painted, and enjoy garden games, or tuck into the delicious barbecue, there’s plenty of fun for all the family. Free entry to the garden.

11.30am – 4.30pm: Community Dance Performances

Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon

Watch community dance troupes perform outside Shakespeare’s Birthplace, ranging from traditional to contemporary styles.

Saturday, 27th and Sunday, 28th April

Free entry to the Shakespeare Family Homes for local (CV37) residents

Stratford-upon-Avon (CV37) residents can enjoy free entry to all five Shakespeare Family Homes and a slice of birthday cake for all, while stocks last. (Proof of address required)

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