September 6th, 2016

Street party kicks off Shakespeare 400 commemorations

A STREET party outside Shakespeare’s front door kicked-off the commemorations to mark the 400th anniversary of the bard’s death.

And townspeople had the chance to share their memories of Shakespeare during as special lightshow beamed onto the walls of the Birthplace.

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust launched the busy anniversary year with the free party on Saturday (January 2) on Henley Street.

It included homegrown music from guitar duo The Booty Duo, blues and folk from singer/guitarist Jon Bird, who runs the Stratford Folk Club with cellist Tori Rushton, and even a little opera courtesy of soprano Victoria J Wilson who trained at the Birmingham Conservatoire).

For youngsters there was face painting and crown decorating, and there was a chance to find out more about the Shakespeare family business of glove-making with a display put on by SBT.

St George took to a pair of stilts, while members of SBT’s own acting troupe Shakespeare Aloud! mingled with party-goers to bring a real Tudor feel to the proceedings.

And the evening was rounded off with ‘Tis in my memory lock’d project’ which saw contributors projected onto the Birthplace as part of the innovative digital light installation in honour of the bard. It was developed by digital artists Illuminos, creators of the latest Illuminating Shakespeare display.

Philippa Rawlinson from the trust said: “We’re really excited to launch this significant anniversary year of 2016 – 400 years of Shakespeare’s legacy – with a wonderful party for the people of Stratford.

“We wanted to celebrate what Shakespeare means to them, and also connect younger generations with his work, life and times at the very place where his creative genius began.

The next event organised by SBT will be Shakespeare Week – a national celebration taking place from March 14 to 20.

The annual celebration organised aims to give primary school children a ‘great’ first encounter with Shakespeare – his characters, stories and language. In 2016, 1.5 million children in 10,000 schools are set to take part.

Visit www.shakespeare.org.uk for further details.

Photos courtesy of Julia Nottingham/SBT.

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