SPECTACULAR fireworks in Stratford town centre have brought the first day of Shakespeare’s Birthday Celebrations to a close.
The all-star Shakespeare Live! event, which featured the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch, Dame Helen Mirren, Sir Ian McKellen, and Dame Judi Dench was followed by a feast for the eyes as crowds were treated to a special firework display outside the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
The skies above this iconic building were lit up with all manner of colours as people of all nationalities took to Bancroft to celebrate the Bard’s legacy.
Earlier in the day, townsfolk and tourists had lined the streets to enjoy the annual birthday parade.
And this year, to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, around 10,000 masks – based on a newly-commissioned portrait of the Bard – were given out.
Head Boy George Hodson carried the quill from the cradle to the grave while The School of Liberal Arts from Tulane University in Louisiana performed a New Orleans Jazz Funeral for William Shakespeare with music provided by The Wendell Brunious Band.
HRH The Prince of Wales, who is President of the RSC, was also in town on Saturday – visiting New Place and Holy Trinity Church – before attending the Shakespeare Live! event along with the Duchess of Cornwall.
Activities will be continuing in Stratford over the weekend.
Visit www.shakespearescelebrations.com for further details.
See next week’s paper for a full round up of the celebrations.