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4th Jul, 2022

Shakespeare’s Birthday Celebrations returns to the streets of Stratford

Editorial Correspondent 20th Apr, 2022 Updated: 24th Apr, 2022

STRATFORD is once again preparing to celebrate the birthday of its most famous son.

Shakespeare’s Birthday Celebrations will take place across the weekend of April 23 and 24 after a three year Covid-enforced absence.

And ‘Mr Shakespeare’ himself, Paul Workman, will also be back to resume the role of the town’s famous Bard during the procession and the quill ceremony.

The weekend celebrations will follow the unveiling of the restored David Garrick Shakespeare statue by acting royalty Dame Judi Dench and Sir Kenneth Branagh on Friday (April 22), where they will also receive the freedom of the town.

Stratford mayor Kevin Taylor was delighted to see the celebrations return in full.

He said: “With the event outright cancelled in 2020 and online-only in 2021, Stratford has had to wait a while for the celebrations to return.

“We’ve really missed celebrating Shakespeare’s birthday over the last two years, so we’re set to mark it in style this year.

“On the Saturday, we will have a full procession with the Air Training Corps band, schoolchildren, flag unfurling ceremony and of course, Mr Shakespeare and his quill.

“And on the Sunday, the quill will be transferred to Holy Trinity Church and placed in the hand of Shakespeare above his grave by the head boy of King Edward VI School, William Warner.

“It’s great the traditional events will be held again, but it’s also fantastic that Dame Judi Dench and Sir Kenneth Branagh will be appearing on the Friday to unveil the restored statue.

“What better way to mark the return of this annual Stratford tradition than by two Shakespearean masters coming to the place of his birth and unveiling his most famous statue?

“It’s fair to say we’re really looking forward to the event, and we would love to see residents and visitors joining in after their long wait.”

Paul Workman, who has led the processions as William Shakespeare since 2017, will again hold up the traditional quill to mark the unfurling of the ‘birthday banner’ and an explosion of confetti cannons in Bridge Street.

He added: “Shakespeare’s Birthday is my favourite time of year, so to miss the full celebrations for two years in a row was such a shame not only for me but for the town as well.

“Although it was held online last year, celebrating the Bard’s big day is just better for all when done in person, so I can’t wait for the event to come around again in April.

“The great man once wrote that ‘all the world’s a stage’ – so I am really looking forward to playing my part properly and entertaining my audience after a long wait.”

 

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