With 2014 marking 450 years since the birth of playwright William Shakespeare, London is preparing for a year-long celebration. Whether it’s watching the world tour of Hamlet which opens on April 23,2014 at Shakespeare’s Globe, or visiting an exhibition dedicated to his life at the V&A, there’s plenty to keep even the most dedicated of fans enthralled.
Julie Chappell, director of consumer marketing and digital channels, London and Partners, said, “London is the perfect destination to celebrate Shakespeare’s anniversary, as it was here that he debuted some of his most famous plays. Hundreds of years later we are still experiencing his astounding legacy through London’s theatres, museums and literary attractions.”
The open air theatre’s 2014 season will mark the writer’s anniversary with new productions of Antony and 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.
A new indoor theatre will also open at the Globe named after its visionary founder – the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. Opening this month, the candlelit venue’s first performance will be the The Duchess of Malfi.
Open all year round, the Globe Exhibition and Tour gives visitors an opportunity to learn more about the unique building and its most famous playwright. Based under the Globe Theatre, the engaging and informative exhibition explores the life of Shakespeare, the London where he lived and the theatre for which he wrote.
Middle Temple Hall
The first performance of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is said to have taken place in the Hall in 1602 with Queen Elizabeth I in attendance.
Middle Temple Hall remains virtually unaltered since completion in the 1570’s and is one of the finest Elizabethan Halls in the country. From the moment one arrives onto the cobbles of the lantern-lit Middle Temple Lane, visitors will feel as though they have stepped back in time to somewhere very special.
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 (February 8 – September 28, 2014) examines how Shakespeare’s plays have travelled across centuries and continents to be used as a springboard for theatrical re-imaginings and interpretation.
London Walks, Shakespeare’s and Dickens’s London
London Walks takes Shakespeare and Dickens fans back in time visiting half-timbered Elizabethan dwellings and the early 16th-century gatehouse where the Bard went with his plays to the offices of the Elizabethan Master of the Revels.Despite the ravages of time, traces of their London are still well and truly there for all to see.
The Rose Theatre
When it was erected in 1587, The Rose was only the fifth purpose-built theatre in London, and the first on Bankside – an area already rich in other leisure attractions such as brothels, gaming dens and bear-baiting arenas.
Shakespeare’s plays performed at the theatre included Henry VI part I and Titus Andronicus. Once The Globe was built, the Rose disappeared into history in 1603. In 1989 the archaeological site of the Rose was discovered and since then a long campaign to rebuild the theatre has been underway.
Theatre goers can visit the Rose every Saturday or go and see one of the productions including Shakespeare’s Richard III (1 – 26 April 2014).
Shakespeare in Love, Noel Coward Theatre
Seven times Academy Award winning film Shakespeare in Love is to be adapted for the stage and will start its run at the Noel Coward Theatre in the summer of 2014.
Preview performances of this theatre premiere begin in early July, with box office bookings starting in February.
The play will tell the tale of how, plagued by debt, tormented by writer’s block and in desperate need of a new hit, promising new playwright Shakespeare finds his muse in the form of passionate young noblewoman, Viola De Lesseps. Their forbidden love soon draws everyone, including Queen Elizabeth I herself, into the drama and inspires him to write one of the greatest love stories of all time, Romeo and Juliet.