PEOPLE are being urged to get on ‘bard’ and play their part in a new-look carnival-like celebration to mark Shakespeare’s Birthday.
The annual honouring of the town’s most famous son is set for big changes this year, including the UK’s first National Living Statue Championship taking place throughout the weekend, and a Community Literary Carnival Pageant which will bring a new dimension to the traditional parade on Saturday April 21.
Stratford town and district councils, which are overseeing the festivities, are inviting locally based groups to take part and help make the inaugural pageant a success.
Each entry for the walking pageant will need to take a literary work of fiction as its theme. There is no limit to the number of participants in each entry, but all participants should be in costume, and represent a single work. Entries should also be suitable for family viewing.
Entries, which could be inspired by characters from the likes of Charles Dickens to JK Rowling, or the bard himself, will follow the parade through the town centre to Bridge Street, where ‘Mr Shakespeare’ will hand each group a feather quill symbolising his literary genius being handed down to all aspiring playwrights and authors who have followed him.
Stratford Town Trust is making grants of up to £250 available to support Stratford town community groups wishing to take part.
A trophy will be awarded to the best judged entry.
District council chairman George Atkinson said: “Support and involvement of everyone in our town and the surrounding area is vital to help us reach our goal of making the celebrations financially sustainable and guarantee their place in our heritage.
“Success of our new carnival in 2018 will lay firm foundations for future years, attracting visitors to join us and enjoy what Stratford has to offer.”
Stratford mayor Victoria Alcock added: “We hope many will really enjoy participating in this inaugural community carnival event. We are all on a steep learning curve to ensure every aspect of the pageant meets or exceeds expectations, but we are confident it will be a lot of fun to be part of and to watch.”
The deadline for entries is March 2. There is a £10 entry charge to cover administration costs. Visit www.shakespearescelebrations.com for further details, and www.stratfordtowntrust.co.uk for details of costume grants, the deadline for which is February 28.