Shakespeare Celebrations: 400

Wow! What an incredible weekend. Firstly, my apologies for not being around, but I’m sure you’ll forgive me once I’ve told you all about this magical weekend celebrating the greatest playwright of all time.

William Shakespeare: legend. April 23rd 1564 – April 23rd 1616. 400 years since he died. Aged 52. What an inspirational legacy that has been left behind…

So, being a Stratfordian (how my students cringe when I say that!) I had to take part in the celebrations, and naturally Stratford upon Avon threw an incredible event. There was the parade, performances, floral tributes, fireworks and even a visit from royalty! The worlds media was there as was I. I feel honoured to have been a tiny part of it.

There were 10,000 of these…and everyone who littered the streets wore them. 

The parade was, dare I say it, a roller coaster of emotions. It began with the funeral bells from Holy Trinity Church and the marching of a mini coffin and floral tribute. We were to throw rosemary as it passed. The streets smelt wonderful after this. 

We had visitors from all around the world come to pay their respects. The sun was shining and the flags were waving proudly. 

There were some beautiful national dress… 

And an incredible jazz band from New Orleans… 

King Edward Grammar School opened its doors to the Guild Hall and Shakespeare’s classroom. It’s really beautiful. The picture of Shakespeare hangs proud. Such humble beginnings. 

And from past history, to making new history. Shakespeare is still inspiring millions today. A project for the children outside Shakespeare’s birthplace. 

The parade marched to Holy Trinty Church where all the flowers from the parade were laid at Shakespeare’s grave. I honestly don’t have the words to describe the smell. It was heavenly and so fittingly decorated. 

Finally, the RSC did a live production which was streamed all around the world, with a star studded cast. There was only one way to finish this off: fireworks. 

So, thank you Stratford for being so beautiful. I’m so proud that this is my heritage. Thank you Shakespeare for transforming the lives of millions by the power of the written and performed word. How staggering it is that it makes as much sense today as I did back then. But, most of all, thank goodness that things like this are still celebrated. Here’s to the next 400!

To close, one of my favourite Shakespeare quotes:

“This above all: to thine own self be true,

And it must follow, as the night the day,

Thou canst not then be false to any man.”


Big love x



Filed under RSC, Stratford upon Avon, William Shakespeare

22 responses to “Shakespeare Celebrations: 400

  1. I am so jealous! I saw Henry V when I was in Stratford and loved it. What play was live-streamed? I am going to have to watch it. Thanks for this post.
    x The Captain


    • Ohhh I’m so pleased you’ve been and loved it! It was little extracts from a number of plays by different actors like Ian McKellen, Dame Judi Dench and the likes. There was music as well. You’ll find it online I’m sure. X


  2. Incredible! Thank you so much for sharing this! πŸ™‚


  3. Heigh-ho what a wonderful Shakespearean celebration! Looks like you had lots of fun. I did not know that Shakespeare only live to be 52. That’s so young!


  4. Lovely post Charley. You’re very lucky to live in Stratford upon Avon. Fantastic photos and commentary. πŸ™‚


  5. This is a great post! I’ve only been to Stratford once but loved it – this event looks brilliant, such a literary feast.


  6. Oh wow! this looks like such a magical thing to have done! What a brilliant way to celebrate Shakespeare!


  7. Pingback: Book Tags | The Get To Know Me Tag – Bookshelves & Biros

  8. dreamingthroughliterature

    What a lovely festival!


  9. Hi Charley, just catching up with this review today and can imagine what a great day you had sharing the celebrations. Thanks to you, we did pretty well everything you recommended to do with my daughter in Stratford. We were actually there the day before you! so all the preparations were in hand and it was quite nice to be there for the first time with Stratford in its ‘normal’ state. We absolutely loved the bookshops (esp the Shakespeare Hospice, what a fantastic shop) and the Xmas shop and saw a lot of the sights you suggested – and had a brilliant stop off in Huffkins. Thank you so so much, we ended up buying far too many second hand books!! and you made it a great trip. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi!!
      This has made my day! I’m so pleased you both had a lovely time. I’m really glad you managed to find some books as well. It’s a tricky one because you can find one in every shop you go in! I love Huffkins as well so I’m really pleased you had a good time there too.
      Thanks for letting me know how your trip went. I did think of you both. Xxx

      Liked by 1 person

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