Shakespeare400: London to celebrate the Death of the Bard
Though the true anniversary of Shakespeare’s death falls on Friday April 22nd, the end of April and beginning of May will be dedicated to the 400th anniversary of his death. King’s College London has coordinated Shakespeare400, “a consortium of leading cultural, creative, and educational organisations”. Through a series of exhibitions, performances, conferences, talks, and publications, partners and audiences will celebrate the legacy of Shakespeare during the quatercentenary year.
Notable highlights include special performances of some of Shakespeare’s most famous plays including “Much Ado About Nothing”, “Henry V”, and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. Likewise, there will be a special anniversary gala concert hosted at the Royal Festival Hall. The gala will feature readings from Shakespeare’s plays alongside an orchestral accompaniment performing music inspired by the plays themselves. There will also be a special late at the British Library that will combine World Book Night and Shakespeare400. The late will feature a new exhibition, “Shakespeare in Ten Acts”, as well as a night of festive, celebratory events.
Other exhibitions include “The Complete Walk”, a 2.5-mile stroll between Westminster Bridge and Tower Bridge that will feature short snippets from 37 plays, movies, and screenings. King’s College London will also host “By me William Shakespeare, A Life in Writing” which will feature a collection of documents, including his will, that saw Shakespeare’s life. The exhibition looks at why these documents were created and what they say about the world’s most famous playwright.
Among exhibitions and performances, Shakespeare400 will also produce a handful of new publications. Jeanette Winterson’s new book The Gap of Time is a triumphant retelling of “A Winter’s Tale” while “Shakespeare in Music and Words” features over an hour of classical music paired with vocal reenactments of Shakespeare’s best scenes. Likewise, the publishers at Hogarth are producing a Shakespeare series that will re-imagine eight of his plays. Works include Howard Jacobson’s The Merchant of Venice, Anne Tyler’s The Taming of the Shrew, Margaret Atwood’s The Tempst, Tracy Chevalier’s Othello, Jo Nesbo’s Macbeth, Edward St Aubyn’s King Lear, and Gillian Flynn’s Hamlet.
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