William Shakespeare, England's most renowned playwright, is said to have been born on the 23rd April 1564, making 2014 the 450th anniversary of his birth. Marking the occasion, sites and attractions right across the country that have links to the bard will be hosting special programmes and exhibitions this spring. Here,is a list of some of the best new Shakespearean activities, attractions and events for 2014.
Sam Wanamaker Theatre, London
Built on the original Jacobean style of Shakespeare's day, this candlelit 340 seat theatre aims to recreate the most authentic 17th century theatre experience yet. The theatre opened for its first performance in January 2014, bringing live performances throughout the year alongside its seasonal sister theatre, The Globe.
V&A, Shakespeare: Our Greatest Living Playwright
This immersive installation will examine the enduring influence and popularity of the world's most famous poet. Drawing together objects from the V&A collection and interviews with key contemporary
practitioners, Shakespeare: Our Greatest Living Playwright (8 February- 28 September 2014) examines how Shakespeare's plays have travelled across centuries and continents to be used as a springboard for
theatrical re-imaginings and interpretation.
Famous Beyond Words exhibition, Stratford-upon-Avon
With celebrations in full swing, the home town of the bard held it's first ever Shakespeare week in March. During this month, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust also launched a brand new exhibition,
'Famous Beyond Words' which explores the extraordinary story of William Shakespeare, the boy from Stratford-upon-Avon who became a household name all over the world. It will reveal how Shakespeare's work has fascinated people of all ages and backgrounds for four centuries and will take visitors on a journey back through time to discover what sparked his imagination and how he continues to shape our lives today.
'Shakespeare in Print' exhibition at the Guildhall Library, London
The Guildhall Library in the heart of the City of London houses a precious First Folio, deemed to be one of the best in the world. This will be on display, together with numerous other printed treasures,
including the first collected edition of Shakespeare's plays, as part of a free 'Shakepeare in Print' exhibition at the Guildhall Library. The exhibition will run from April 2 – 30, 2014.
Singing Shakespeare, Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon
A concert in Holy Trinity Church on April 24, 2014 will launch a new three year global singing project by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to mark the anniversary of the playwright's birth and death. Singing Shakespeare will inspire choirs from all over the world to perform musical settings of Shakespeare. The concert will form part of the town's Birthday Celebrations and will feature the world premiere of a new work by award-winning composer Gary Carpenter, as well as the world premiere of a new arrangement of Stephen Sondheim's 'Fear No More'. The concert will include performances by the Stratford-upon-Avon Chamber Choir, Holy Trinity Church Choir and Cantare, a newly formed chamber choir based in Stratford.
Cycle Shakespeare's Way
Celebrate England's most famous playwright by cycling Shakespeare's way from his hometown in Stratford-upon-Avon to the Capital where his name became immortalised. This new package takes guests through the beautiful and quintessentially English towns of The Cotswolds and The Chilterns, towards Shakespeare's Globe and the newly opened Sam Wanamaker Theatre on London's Southbank. Visitors will be able to re-create the Bard's journey by booking a gentle package or an intense cycling package.
The Globe Theatre's 2014 season
The open air theatre's 2014 season will mark the writer's anniversary with new productions of Antony & Cleopatra, Julius Caesar and The Comedy of Errors. A world tour of Hamlet Globe to Globe will begin at Shakespeare's Globe on April 23, 2014 and tour every country in the world over a two-year period.
Shakespeare in Love
A new stage version of the eponymous film opens at the Noel Coward Theatre this July. Plagued by debt, tormented by writer's block and in desperate need of a new hit, promising new playwright Will Shakespeare finds his muse in the form of passionate young noblewoman, Viola De Lesseps. Their forbidden love soon draws everyone, including Queen Elizabeth herself, into the drama and inspires Will to write the greatest love story of all time, Romeo and Juliet.
Celebrate in Shakespeare's Birthtown
Stratford-upon-Avon's celebrations of the anniversary will take place on April 26- 27, when thousands of visitors are expected in the town. There will be an extended programme of events and activities at the five Shakespeare family homes and free entertainment in the streets and parks of Stratford-upon-Avon throughout the weekend. The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) will be running a range of free activities for all the family in and around its theatres on April26, including storytelling sessions, stage fighting workshops and the chance to see how fake scars and bruises are created.