Welcome

2014 is a very exciting year at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and around the world as we celebrate Shakespeare’s 450th birthday. There’s always something new to discover, so whether you’re brand new to Shakespeare, or his number one fan, take a look around and become part of the story.

Shakespeare’s Birthday

Shakespeare’s birthday is celebrated in Stratford-upon-Avon and around the world every April, and this year is bigger than ever as Shakespeare turns 450 years young. Here in Stratford the streets overflow with music, pageantry and drama as the birthday weekend brings together performers, artists, and ambassadors from around the world in a vibrant celebration of the life and works of William Shakespeare.

Shakespeare’s Family Homes

Explore Shakespeare’s five family homes and uncover the stories behind the world’s greatest storyteller.

Begin the story at Shakespeare’s Birthplace with our exciting new exhibition celebrating Shakespeare’s 450th anniversary, before exploring the house he was born and grew up in. Visit Mary Arden’s Farm, where William’s mother grew up and then follow young Shakespeare’s footsteps to Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, where he courted his future wife. Explore the site and gardens of New Place and Nash’s House, then continue to Hall’s Croft, the elegant home of Shakespeare’s daughter and her husband.

Anniversary Projects

2014 promises to be a very exciting year for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust as we celebrate Shakespeare’s 450th birthday with a host of new events and activities. The first Shakespeare Week is bringing Shakespeare vividly to life for primary school and their families. Singing Shakespeare invites choirs from all over the world to celebrate choral settings of Shakespeare’s work, and Shakespeare on the Road charts the progress of our road trip to Shakespeare festivals all around North America.

Shakespeare in Stratford

William Shakespeare became a household name all over the world, but his home was right here in Stratford-upon-Avon. Shakespeare lives here to this day; in his five family homes, the theatres of the RSC, the local community and the millions of visitors who travel here each year to become part of Shakespeare’s story.

Shakespeare Around the World

Explore the extraordinary story of William Shakespeare, the boy from Stratford-upon-Avon who became a household name all over the world. Discover how much Shakespeare continues to influence our everyday lives all over the world four centuries on.

Discover Shakespeare

Whether you’re brand new to Shakespeare, or his number one fan, there is always something new to be discovered. From a favourite quote to the latest research, here you can explore, enjoy and be surprised by Shakespeare’s work, life and times. Browse through our archives on Finding Shakespeare, meet the pilgrim’s at Shakespeare’s Birthplace on Living Shakespeare and join the conversation with the most vibrant Shakespeare community on the web on Blogging Shakespeare.

In Shakespeare’s Shoes – poetry competition winners!

Read more about other Shakespeare activity at the Victoria & Albert Museum, including a Shakespeare trail to follow around the building and Shakespeare: Greatest Living Playwright a special display in the Theatre and Performance Galleries (until 21 September).

The Etwall Women’s Institute Well Dressing Festival

In 1348 the plague contaminated water supplies in many villages across Derbyshire, but the village of Tissington was not affected. The local people threw flowers and greenery into the wells and springs to thanks the Gods for their pure water supply.  

The tradition spread across Derbyshire and is upheld to this day in Etwall, where a ‘Well Dressing’ festival is held in May each year. At this year’s festival the Etwall Women’s Institute decided to celebrate Shakespeare’s 450th birthday by using his plays as their inspiration.

The resulting tableaux was created using natural materials pressed lightly onto clay boards to build up a picture on separate boards that unite to stand 9ft high and 7ft wide.

We were delighted to read about the tradition of Well Dressing and to see the intricate results, with many thanks to the Etwall WI for sharing their story with us.

STRAUSS AND SHAKESPEARE - City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

"Join the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra for a programme of Strauss and Shakespeare with conductor Andris Nelsons.
Wednesday 18 June 2014 at 7.30pm
Symphony Hall, Birmingham”

In the 450th anniversary year of Shakespeare’s birth, the CBSO celebrates with this concert including Mendelssohn’s classic overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the UK premiere of Abrahmsen’s enchanting let me tell you. The libretto of let me tell you is based on the words of Ophelia in Shakespeare’s Hamlet and dedicated to Hannigan.

There will also be a special pre-concert talk during which Composer Hans Abrahamsen and librettist Paul Griffiths discuss their new song cycle let me tell you before its first UK performance.

For more details and to book tickets, visit the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra website.

British Council Outlines Shakespeare Observances - Taipei Times

Read more about the events in store for Taiwan’s anniversary celebrations.

Teachers ‘Shakespeare-bomb’ lessons at Romford school

All the school was a stage for teachers turned thespians at Marshalls Park School who brought history to life for students in the 450th anniversary week of William Shakespeare’s birth.

Staff at the school in Pettits Lane, Romford, encouraged pupils to celebrate the Bard’s life last week by bursting into lessons and performing scenes or monologues from his works. The three-day “Shakespeare-bombing” featured chanting witches from Macbeth and Richard III (teachers Judith Jackson, Geraldine Webb and Jackie Simmonds), a sword-fighting Tybalt (Jenni Guy) and Benfolio (Mrs Jackson) from Romeo and Juliet, a ponderous Othello (Rayon Nembhard) giving a speech to Desdemona (Kerri Goddard) and a discontented Richard III (Johan Zweistra).

Elsewhere, head of Year 10 Carolyn Cusack delivered a Juliet speech – recalled from her schooldays – headteacher Pam Mason and Liz Shoffren swapped insults as Helena and Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Con McCartney and Kathy Nordern both had a stab at Lady Macbeth.

The idea was planned in the Easter break and performed during free periods. Organiser Mrs Jackson said: “Some pupils got a bit of a fright when we burst into classrooms and they were all universally agog, but, to give them credit, they all sat and listened to us.”

Shakespeare anniversary to be marked with 40 plays in China

Nearly 40 plays will be staged in the following eight months in China to mark William Shakespeare’s 450th birth anniversary.

A play adapted from Macbeth will raise the curtain of a series of performances named “Salute to Shakespeare” on Tuesday, according to a news briefing held at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing on Monday.

Eight troupes from Britain, Scotland, the United States and China will perform nearly 40 shows of Shakespeare’s original or adapted plays.

"William Shakespeare is great. He is cherished not only in the UK but in the whole world," said Pu Cunxin, a renowned actor with Beijing People’s Art Theater, at the news briefing.