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shakespeare's birthday celebration

Shakespeare's Birthday Celebration in Stratford-Upon-Avon The universally acclaimed literary genius was born way back in 1564 and the annual celebrations in his hometown of Stratford are a highlight of the town’s events calendar.

From their origins in the 18th century, the birthday celebrations have developed into a massive international occasion that bring together people from around the world.

It was the Shakespearean Festival of 1796, organised by the famous actor David Garrick that first established Stratford as a place of literary pilgrimage.

During the 19th century the idea of holding annual celebrations in honour of the poet was gradually established. The tercentenary of Shakespeare’s birth in 1864 marked the next big step forward, with a three-week celebration held in a wooden tent on Stratford’s riverside. In 1879, when the original Shakespeare Memorial Theatre (the predecessor to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre) was built, the first of the annual seasons of Shakespeare’s plays was established in Stratford.

The Bard’s birthday celebrations are usually held on the Saturday nearest to April 23rd – Shakespeare’s birthday. The traditional core events are a procession to lay floral tributes on William Shakespeare’s tomb, a birthday lunch, and a birthday performance of one of his plays at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre [map] .

Since the early years of last century it has been the custom to invite representatives from other countries to attend the celebrations, and the procession features the ceremonial unfurling of national and other flags in the main streets of the town.

Celebratory events span the whole weekend and include the Shakespeare Marathon and half marathon - for anyone feeling especially energetic!

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