The Bard’s Birthday: Shakespeare 450

Yep, that's a Shakespeare rubber duck, courtesy of Guildhall Library.

Yep, that’s a Shakespeare rubber duck, courtesy of Guildhall Library.

23 April 2014 is the 450th anniversary of the birth of Shakespeare – and, by association, the 398th anniversary of his death. Focusing on the former, happier occasion of the two, there are several events happening in London to celebrate the life and times of the Bard.

The Globe Theatre

Home of all things Shakespeare in London, and a mecca for literary tourists, The Globe is kicking the party off with a free Family Fun Day on Easter Monday.

Despite the unavoidable absence of the great man himself, there will be a birthday party theme to the day. A bouncy castle, face painting and a few rounds of Pin the Ruff on the Bard should keep the children entertained. There will also be Punch and Judy shows, stilt performers and more plus a rare chance to see the exhibition about Shakespeare’s London for free (normal adult admission price is £13.50).

On top of this, The Globe is offering a limited number of tickets to performances in April for £4.50, when you utter the magic words. That’s “Birthday offer”, between us. More details here.

Guildhall Library

Guildhall Library runs a week of Shakespeare themed events, including walks and talks. The Shakespeare City Walk visits memorials to Shakespeare’s life on the north bank and incorporates performances of some of his sonnets. There are various prices, and pre-booking is required for many of the events.

If you can’t wait that long for the Bard-based fun to begin, the Shakespeare in Print exhibition is already open. Items on display include the First Folio, the first collected edition of his plays. The exhibition is free, no booking required, and is open until 30 April.

Victoria and Albert Museum

The V&A’s programme of Shakespeare events has been running since March in the form of film screenings. However, the big event happens on 23 April, when The Live Canon ensemble will be performing all 154 of Shakespeare’s sonnets throughout the day. Over the following weeks, a series of special events include a debate about the relevance of Shakespeare in a multicultural society. Full event listings are here.

An ideal introduction for the kids, Shakespeare: The Puppet Show is a 30-minute show aimed at children, exhibiting many of the puppets held in the museum’s collection. The show runs 13-19 April, and can be prebooked here.

Do you know of any other Shakespeare birthday celebrations going on in London? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @Londonist.

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Laura

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  • Lizzie Conrad Hughes

    April 27th, 6pm, come along to the 4th Shakespeare:Bites show at the Cockpit Theatre on Gateforth Street! 12 graduate students will be completing an 8 week course, taught by Dominic Kelly & Lizzie Conrad Hughes of the salon:collective, in understanding & acting Shakespeare’s text, by performing a brand new piece created entirely from Shakespeare’s scenes & speeches – we invite you to the wedding of the year in Get Thee A Good Husband!