Shakespeare’s Birthday Celebrations 2022: What’s On in Stratford-upon-Avon

Shakespeare actor at Shakespeare's Birthday Celebrations

This April, the annual Shakespeare’s Birthday Celebrations will be taking place ‘live’ in Stratford-upon-Avon for the first time since 2019.  Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the birthday celebrations were cancelled in 2020 and held online in 2021 so this year there is much excitement around their planned return to the town!

Below is a round up of the Shakespeare Birthday celebrations that will be taking place at various locations around the town, along with links to book tickets for some events and access information to help you plan your visit.

The Shakespeare Birthday Celebrations and Parade

 

Friday 22nd April

A particular highlight of this year’s celebration will take place on Friday 22nd April when the recently restored statue of William Shakespeare, which was presented to Stratford-upon-Avon in 1769 by David Garrick will be formally unveiled by RSC favourites Dame Judi Dench and Sir Kenneth Branagh outside Stratford Town Hall!

Saturday 23rd April

The annual Shakespeare’s Birthday Parade will take place around the streets of Stratford-upon-Avon, and will include the traditional and flag unfurling ceremony.

The parade will begin at 10.30am from Bancroft Gardens on Waterside and take in Sheep Street, High Street and Bridge Street.  The flag unfurling ceremony will take place at 11am.  The flag poles are positioned at various locations on High Street, Henley Street and Bridge Street.

At 11.05am the formal parade will move off from Bridge Street via High Street to Holy Trinity Church.  Other spectators wishing to lay flowers at Shakespeare’s Grave are invited to join the rear of the Civic Parade.

The parade will conclude at 11.50am at Holy Trinity Church.

Sunday 24th April

Following an invitation only Civic Reception at the Town Hall at 10am, there will be a traditional procession and church service as follows:

Mr Shakespeare will arrive at the Town Hall to ceremoniously offer the Quill to the King Edward VI School Head Boy.  From 10.50am, a Procession will lead from the Town Hall to Holy Trinity Church via Chapel Street, Church Street, Old Town, led by the ATC Band.

From 11.15am, the annual Shakespeare Service will take place in Holy Trinity Church, where the Quill will be received and placed in the hand of Shakespeare above his grave.  The service will conclude at 12.30pm.

You can find a full, detailed programme of the Birthday parades and ceremonies on 23rd and 24th April (with full timings) here.

Access information for visitors and viewing the parade can be found here.

Shakespeare Birthday Celebrations by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

To mark the anniversary of William Shakespeare’s 458th birthday, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has planned a special weekend of celebrations in honour of Stratford’s most famous son and the world’s greatest playwright, with a vibrant mix of performances and workshops. The free, family-friendly programme will take place on Henley Street, right in front of the very house where Shakespeare was born (Shakespeare’s Birthplace) and at New Place, his final home.

Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 April 2022, 10am – 5pm
Free entry to Shakespeare’s Family Homes for CV37 residents
In celebration of Shakespeare’s 458th birthday, Stratford-upon-Avon (CV37) residents can enjoy free entry to Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Shakespeare’s New Place during the weekend 23 and 24 April, 10am – 5pm. Simply present your proof of address at the ticket desk.

Friday 22 April 2022, 4.30pm
Shakespeare’s Birthday Lecture – Shakespeare in a Changing Climate
Professor Sir Jonathan Bate CBE, Professor of Environmental Humanities (Literature), Arizona State University, presents this year’s Shakespeare’s Birthday Lecture on the subject of Shakespeare in a Changing Climate.

Living through the Little Ice Age, Shakespeare knew all about what he called “rough weather.” From the Forest of Arden to the storms of King Lear and The Tempest, the elements play a major role in several of his plays. And he inherited a series of ancient beliefs about the relationship between climate and national character, geographic origin and human behaviour. How, then, does Shakespeare speak to our own age of climate crisis? Co-hosted by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham, this year’s lecture will take place online. Tickets £10.

Book Signing:
On Friday 22 April, Professor Sir Jonathan Bate will be signing copies of his new memoir Mad About Shakespeare: From Classroom to Theatre to Emergency Room in the Shakespeare Bookshop, Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon from 2.30- 3pm. Signed copies of the book will also be available to order online from shop.shakespeare.org.uk.

Saturday 23 April 2022
Musical performance by K’antu Ensemble
Throughout the morning, K’antu Ensemble will perform an eclectic musical performance outside Shakespeare’s Birthplace on Henley Street. This versatile, intriguing and multi-talented vocal/instrumental ensemble are known for the uniqueness of their sound, combining elements of folk and world music with historically-informed techniques.

K’antu Ensemble will also deliver free interactive performances and workshops during the afternoon in the garden of Shakespeare’s New Place. Free entry for CV37 residents.

Sunday 24 April 2022
Welcombe Hills Walk – Shakespeare and Wildlife
Join a guided walk across the Welcombe Hills led by guides from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust. Part of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Sustainable Shakespeare programme, the walk offers an opportunity to explore Shakespeare’s connection to this landscape and the role it played as a likely source of inspiration for his works. Learn about the site’s rich history, and the current conservation efforts that seek to protect and preserve the varied wildlife and habitats of this special place.

The walk starts at Rowley Fields and lasts around 2hrs. Tickets cost £10 and available soon at www.shakespeare.org.uk/whatson.

Shakespeare Birthday Celebrations with the RSC

Saturday 23 April

Join the RSC for free activities and performances to celebrate Shakespeare’s Birthday.

  • Join actors and members of the creative team for Unwrapped in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre
    (10.15-11.15am, tickets £5 – £8, Suitable for ages 12 years up, book online here.)
  • A free performance of Out of the Deep Blue, by Autin Dance Theatre featuring a 13-foot-tall puppet (4-4.30pm, no booking required)
  • Room for the Soul, an art installation in the RSC’s new Dell Forest Garden. (12-3.30pm, next to the Holy Trinity Church, no booking required)
  • See the final two parts of Henry VI trilogy, Henry VI: Rebellion (1.15pm) and Wars of the Roses (7.15pm)
  • Be part of the live audience for an edition of the popular podcast, The Guilty Feminist on Sunday 24 April. (Tickets from £12.50, The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Sunday 24 April 2022, 7:30pm, book tickets here.)

Some roads in Stratford-upon-Avon will be closed from 8am to 12.30pm – please allow extra time for your journey.

Shakespeare Birthday Lunch 2022 with the RSC

Saturday 23 April, 2022

Pragnell is delighted to have the honour of organising Shakespeare’s 458th Birthday Lunch.

Hosted by actor and presenter Alexander Armstrong, attendees will enjoy a three-course luncheon, accompanied by fine wine and the event will feature performances from the Royal Shakespeare Company, a newly commissioned spoken word piece, along with special guests.

The Pragnell Shakespeare Birthday Award, which will be given at the luncheon, celebrates individuals who have significantly furthered society’s understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of the Bard’s work. The illustrious roster of winners includes Sir Ian McKellen, Dame Judi Dench and Sir Kenneth Branagh.

For more information, please contact ShakespeareBirthdayLuncheon@Pragnell.co.uk

Tickets for the lunch can be booked here.

Road Closures in Stratford-upon-Avon, 23rd and 24th April

Saturday 23rd April

Roads in Stratford-upon-Avon will be closed from 7am to 1.30pm on Saturday 23rd April – please allow extra time for your journey.

The roads which are subject to the Road Closures are as follows:

  • Bridge Street
  • Waterside
  • Sheep Street
  • Union Street
  • High Street
  • Chapel Street
  • Church Street
  • Old Town
  • Southern Lane
  • Wood Street
  • Henley Street
  • Meer Street
  • Chestnut Walk

The road closures are designed to keep traffic away from the main parade route, but individual street closures will be lifted as soon as possible after the Parade has passed.

Sunday 24th April

Waterside will be closed on Sunday 24 April for the regular up market

The following roads will be closed between 10:00am and 1:00pm to allow the Civic procession to march safely from the Town Hall to and from Holy Trinity Church:

  • Sheep Street
  • Chapel Street
  • Church Street
  • Old Town
  • High Street

Other roads leading into the parade route may be affected for a short time, but disruption will be kept to a minimum.  The most likely roads to be affected are:

  • Chapel Lane
  • Chestnut Walk
  • Bull Street
  • College Street
  • Southern Lane
  • Scholars Lane
  • Ely Street

All affected roads throughout Stratford town centre on Friday, Saturday and Sunday will re-open as soon as possible, and when safe to do so; During the early part of the morning of Sunday 24 April, much of the town centre will be closed to accommodate those running in the Shakespeare Rotary Marathon.