We can’t be 100% certain, but it is widely accepted that William Shakespeare was born on 23 April 1564 – and died on the same date in 1616. Though the theatres are closed, that doesn’t mean we can’t mark Shakespeare Day in alternative ways…
The RSC has closed the Swan Theatre until the autumn, but will open its new productions of The Winter’s Tale and The Comedy of Errors later in the summer if they are able to. In the meantime, they are inviting you to #ShareYourShakespeare to celebrate the Bard’s work.
What to do on Shakespeare Day
#NationalTheatreAtHome continues, with Simon Godwin’s production of Twelfth Night taking centre stage this week – it stars Tamsin Greig as Malvolia. If you enjoyed my #BarnHenryV tweetalong last month, then do join me on Twitter as I’ll be doing the honours again tomorrow night for my favourite Shakespeare play.
The BBC’s Culture in Quarantine festival has started, with six RSC Shakespeare productions coming to iPlayer from Shakespeare Day: Macbeth (Christopher Eccleston & Niamh Cusack), Othello (Hugh Quarshie & Lucian Msamati), Romeo & Juliet (Bally Gill & Karen Fishwick), The Merchant of Venice (Makram J Khoury), Much Ado About Nothing (Michelle Terry & Edward Bennett), and Hamlet (Paapa Essiedu).
Following the success of their Henry V streaming, The Barn Theatre have created a new Shakespeare series called Bard from the Barn. Produced by Aaron Sidwell & Hal Chambers (Henry V), the series began on Monday and involves a collection of actors & directors bringing a selection of some of the Bard’s speeches to their YouTube & Facebook pages from 5pm each day. Sidwell will also present an omnibus episode every Friday. Do also read about #SAVEOURBARN, as the theatre has just celebrated its second anniversary and is looking to the future following this crisis.
If you love your sonnets then Twitter is still where you should be: Jermyn Street Theatre continue to run The Sonnet Project, and Sir Patrick Stewart is also still making his way through one of Shakespeare’s sonnets each day (#ASonnetADay).
Should you have time in between these treats, why not catch up with the #ShowMustGoOnline series? You now have the choice of The Two Gentlemen of Verona (19 March), The Taming of the Shrew (26 March), Henry VI, part one (1 April), Henry VI, part two (8 April), and Henry VI, part three (15 April). You can also get yourself in the mood for Shakespeare Day by tuning in to Titus Andronicus tonight (22 April) – and join in with the Roman revels (because there ain’t no party like a Titus party!).
Any Other Business
The Bard doesn’t just pop up in the theatrical world – Shakespeare really is all around, to paraphrase a certain rom-com.
Blog post: The Mortal Fool’s The Consumption: March/April
Book: William Shakespeare’s the Merry Rise of Skywalker: Star Wars Part the Ninth – Ian Doescher (available to pre-order)
CD: Take All My Loves: 9 Shakespeare Sonnets – Rufus Wainwright
Podcast: Shakespeare In Quarantine (Proud Haddock)
DVD: Upstart Crow – The Complete Series 1-3 and the Christmas Specials boxset
TV shows: Doctor Who – The Shakespeare Code (series 3, episode 2); Class Dismissed – Shakespeare (series 1, episode 3)
“Come, my queen, take hands with me,
And rock the ground whereon these sleepers be.”
Oberon, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (William Shakespeare)
My #NationalTheatreAtHome wish list