Shakespeare’s 400th Birthday


On the 23rd of April the British Isles celebrated the 400th birthday of one of the most famous people in Great Britain –William Shakespeare.  I travelled down to London (about 2 hours by coach or train from the University of Gloucestershire) to enjoy the celebrations and to also celebrate St. George’s day, St. George is the patron Saint of England and famously killed a dragon.

The famous Globe Theatre organised the celebrations in London while the Royal Shakespeare Company celebrated up in Stratford upon Avon (about 45minutes from the University), Shakespeare’s birthplace. The Globe is a remodel of the original theatre Shakespeare worked in and had his plays performed. It is an open air, Elizabethan style building, you can get a standing ticket in the ‘yard’ for £5 – people who do this are known as ‘groundlings’ and was where the poor peasants of Shakespeare’s age would stand.

So, onto the celebrations: The globe set up ‘The Complete Walk’, along the Thames River between Westminster Bridge and Tower Bridge, 37 large screens were put up each displaying clips and old footage of Shakespeare’s plays. Some were new short films were created especially for the occasion; some were filmed as far as Bermuda! Each was filmed on location where Shakespeare imagined his plays to be, i.e. Romeo and Juliet was filmed in Verona Italy; ‘In fair Verona where we lay our scene’. The short films also contained clips from productions recorded at The Globe and even some clips from old silent films of Shakespeare’s plays!

‘Titus Andronicus’, The Globe Screens

There were large crowds all doing the walk, as if it were a Shakespearian pilgrimage. The gates at The Globe were adorned with red and white roses with many fans leaving other commemorations. It was a very happy day despite the freezing cold and it was a pleasure to see so many people enjoying the celebrations and revelling in Shakespeare’s brilliant words.

The gate at the Globe Theatre

The walk finished across the water from the Tower of London, famously where Richard III murdered the two princes, Edward and Richard. Besides this is it where Henry VIII has Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard beheaded. You can visit the tower and be shown the rooms they were all kept in, as well as seeing the Crown Jewels!

I had a wonderful day and as I arrived at the final screen the sun poked his head out of the clouds! Below I have included a link to The Complete Walk as well as some information on Shakespeare. Thank you for reading!




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