Street Party in Stratford-upon-Avon kicks off Shakespeare 400 Celebrations

With 2016 being the 400-year anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust launched the year with a free 2nd January Street Party and community event outside his historic house in the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon. The event was helped with sponsorship from Arts Council (England).

The Street Party included music from guitar duo The Booty Duo (Scott Lewis and Paul), Folk and Blues numbers from singer/guitarist Jon Bird (who runs the Stratford Folk Club with cellist Tori Rushton), and operatic and modern numbers from soprano Victoria J. Wilson (professionally trained at the Birmingham Conservatoire). All the musicians were from Stratford-upon-Avon.

For the children, there was face painting and crown decorating to keep them occupied while the two Shakespeare Birthplace Trust stalls showed examples of pots and gloves used in his time. There was also information about the renovation of Shakespeare’s New Place which will be opened in July 2016. The Shakespeare Aloud! group was in attendance in period Shakespeare costume to give an authentic feel to the event.

A St George figure on stilts was walking up and down Henley street posing with children and adults alike outside Shakespeare’s house.

Hot jacket potatoes were on sale at the Pitt Stop stall to ward off the cold and rain.

During the event, two special light shows featuring the people’s memories of Shakespeare, (developed by digital artists Illuminos, creators of Illuminating Shakespeare 2015), were projected on Shakespeare’s Birthplace to a large and enthusiastic crowd.

Some of the locals who took part in the ‘Tis in my memory lock’d project during November and December 2015 saw themselves projected onto the walls of Shakespeare’s Birthplace as part of the innovative digital light installation in honour of the Bard.

Philippa Rawlinson, director of operations at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, said: “We’re really excited to launch this significant anniversary year of 2016 – 400 years of Shakespeare’s legacy with a wonderful party for the people of Stratford. We want to celebrate what Shakespeare means to them, and also connect younger generations with his work, life and times at the very place where his creative genius began.”

The next event organised by The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is Shakespeare Week: a national celebration, which takes place 14-20 March 2016.

This is a nationwide annual celebration organised by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to give primary school children a great first encounter with Shakespeare – his characters, stories, and language. In 2016, 1.5 million children in 10,000 schools are set to take part.

Street Party in Stratford-upon-Avon kicks off Shakespeare 400 Celebrations
WiderView Visual Media, Chris Roberts 3 January 2016
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