We love these amazing images of last month’s Shakespeare Parade in Stratford-upon-Avon

Missed out on last month’s Shakespeare Parade celebrations in Stratford? Luckily for us, Shakespeare fanatic Emma Wheatley was there with camera in hand. Here’s her street-level report of the day’s highlights…

Saturday 26 April saw the annual Shakespeare Parade in Stratford-upon-Avon. And with the world celebrating the 450th anniversary of the Bard’s birth, this year’s event was bigger and more significant than ever. Taking my place on the parade route, I eagerly waited for the festivities to begin…

1 parade
The day began with the awakening of Lady Godiva outside Shakespeare’s birthplace. Lady Godiva featured in the 2012 Olympics and played a prominent role in the parade. The 20-foot-tall mechanical puppet was quite magnificent to witness, and took pride of place leading the People’s Parade.


2 parade
The big birthday cake was pulled by two parade horses – the cake itself was decorated by local school children and community groups. It was great to see such community spirit coming to the fore.


3 parade
The annual handing over of the quill from ‘Shakespeare’ to the head boy of King Edward VI’s school (which Shakespeare himself attended as a boy). The head boy then took the quill and led the parade to Holy Trinity Church where it was placed with the bust of Shakespeare that overlooks his grave.


4 parade
After unfurling flags from around the world, this special flag was revealed to the crowd, accompanied by a rousing round of ‘Happy Birthday’.


5 parade
The parade featured numerous re-enactors, with many coming from Mary Arden’s farm. This photo I think highlighted how much effort the participants went to. The man was hailing a group of small children who were calling out Tudor greetings to the parade.


6 parade
The Shakespeare Morris Men taking part in the parade.


7 parade
A paper mache creation of Titania, Queen of the Fairies. Created by the RSC and community groups. It was great to see such imaginative interpretations of Shakespeare’s well-loved characters.
8 parade
Banners outside the RSC to represent the plays in rep this season, unveiled by actors of the current company.


9 parade
Lady Godiva reaches Waterside and the waiting crowds. Taken from the first floor of the RSC, it shows the sheer height and grace of Godiva.


10 parade
The closed doors of Holy Trinity Church, shortly before they opened to the crowds. People were leaving flowers and attaching them to the gates – a way of paying their respects to Shakespeare.


11 parade
Inside Holy Trinity Church, reopened to the public after the parade participants had laid their flowers down. This colourful and overwhelming display of flowers filled the chancel in which Shakespeare and his family are buried.


12 parade
Shakespeare’s grave and memorial statue, which was commissioned shortly after his death in 1616. In Shakespeare’s right hand is the same quill that was key to the parade.

With the rain holding off, the whole day was fantastic and it was great to celebrate Shakespeare’s life with like-minded people. Now, 450 years after his birth in 1564, it’s clear that Shakespeare’s legacy is alive and stronger than ever.

Richard III star David Hywel Baynes leads Iris Theatre Masterclass in London

David Hywel Baynes as Richard III.

David Hywel Baynes as Richard III.

Known for its dynamic, whole body approach to classical texts, Iris Theatre is launching a season of acting masterclasses based at its home, St Paul’s Church in London’s Covent Garden. Each class will focus on a particular part of theatre and performance with the emphasis on practical exploration rather than academic analysis.

Open to actors of all backgrounds, the masterclasses aim to give every participant a deeper understanding and a greater degree of ownership of verse drama. The classes promise a unique opportunity for participants to increase confidence and broaden the range of their classical repertoire.

Masterclass: Richard III – Vengeance & Blood

Sunday 8 June, 5.30pm to 8.30pm

This special one-off masterclass will be co-led by Iris Theatre’s Artistic Director Daniel Winder and actor David Hywel Baynes, who plays the title role in this summer’s production of Richard III. In this intensive masterclass David and Daniel will work through the themes and underlying ideas of the play, illuminating its greatest moments and most signifcant icongraphy.

Daniel will also help to place the play within the wider context of the history cycle, while David will reveal his personal approach to the challenge of playing one of Shakespeare’s most physically demanding parts.

“This Masterclass is happening right in the middle of the rehearsal period of our summer production,” says an Iris Theatre spokesperson, “so join us for the chance to gain a unique insight into the practical challenges of staging Shakespeare.”

For more information, and to book tickets, go here.

Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet staged in Manchester’s historic Victoria Baths

Romeo and  Juliet (image: Jessica Tremp)

Romeo and Juliet (image: Jessica Tremp)

From Wednesday 10 September to Saturday 4 October, Manchester’s extraordinary Victoria Baths will be the setting for an original promenade performance of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

The drama is retold as a contemporary fairy tale set in a criminal underworld of Eastern Europe and influenced by Eastern European stories, music and film.

The three atmospheric empty Victorian swimming pools will be transformed into a dangerous, seductive and entertaining world with an ensemble of bold and colourful characters and the music of Gypsy bands and Balkan choirs.

For more information and to book tickets, go here.


Musical/theatrical trio In Voice and Verse present Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits

Heather Chamberlain (keyboards) and Belinda Yates (soprano).

Heather Chamberlain (keyboards) and Belinda Yates (soprano).

Gearing up to a busy three-month spell of touring and performing, including Edinburgh Festival,  In Voice and Verse are a musical/theatrical trio consisting of  an actor, singer and pianist.

Formed in 2008 to create and perform themed concerts of words and music, they have appeared everywhere from London’s National Gallery to Durham Cathedral and Buxton Festival.

The trio are currently celebrating the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth with a new show titled Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits.

The show features actor Lance Pierson delivering speeches and sonnets “from Hamlet to Henry and Richard to Romeo”, with soprano Belinda Yates and pianist Heather Chamberlain performing music inspired by Shakespeare’s work, “from Purcell to Porter and Walton’s Henry V to Bernstein’s West Side Story.”

Actor Lance Pierson channels Shakespeare.

Actor Lance Pierson channels Shakespeare.

The show made its debut on Shakespeare’s birthday (23 April) at London’s Leicester Square Theatre and has been touring the country since, taking part in music and literary Festivals and on the regional theatre circuit throughout the UK.

Their next performance is at The New Cavendish Club, London on Thursday 29 May.

For further details, concert dates, and to order CDs, go here.

Georgia Lepore directs Annika Nyman’s Romeo and Juliet Post Scriptum at Rome’s Teatro dell’Orologio

Romeo (Giovanni Anzaldo) and Juliet (Selene Gandini).

Romeo (Giovanni Anzaldo) and Juliet (Selene Gandini).

Running from 20 May to 1 June at Teatro dell’Orologio in Rome, Romeo and Juliet Post Scriptum by young Swedish author Annika Nyman is now performed in Italian for the first time. Translated and directed by Georgia Lepore, it stars Giovanni Anzaldo and Selene Gandini.

A PS from Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers.

A PS from Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers.

“When Shakespeare is at play I find it impossible to give a rational explanation,” says director Georgia Lepore, herself a well-known actress in Italy. “It’s impossible not to fall in love with Annika Nyman’s script. The characters survive Shakespeare’s intended end, but without ever contradicting the original play’s contents. We’ve all asked ourselves, at one point or other, what would have happened to Romeo and Juliet had they not died?”

More information here.

Exclusive interview with Lili Fuller, producer and co-star of Shakespeare-themed US comedy Complete Works

Lili Fuller as Pauline in Complete Works.

Lili Fuller as Pauline in Complete Works.

SHAKESPEARE MAGAZINE: Hi Lili, as you’re probably aware, we’re unable to access the Hulu videos for Complete Works  here in the UK. Will our UK readers be able to see the show soon?
LILI FULLER: “The good news is that we just released the trailer and two 30-sec teasers (here and here) on YouTube.
“The bad news is that, for the time being, the show is only available on Hulu. That being said, we are considering putting the show on Netflix or iTunes in the near future. So not all hope is lost!”

You play the character Pauline, depicted as Lady Macbeth on the show’s poster. As executive producer, what appealed to you about this particular role? Does Pauline share any of your own personality traits?

“Yes, I do play Pauline. She’s a straight-shooting, very smart, sarcastic New Yorker who is highly competitive and very talented. And when you first meet her, she’s kind of, for lack of better words, a stone cold bitch, haha.

“You know, it’s interesting, when I started to work on playing Pauline, I thought she was very different from me. Her tone is dry and cold, which is the opposite of mine, so it was a struggle to land that tonality. Her strength and sassiness, though, are qualities I possess.

“Our make-up designer, Emily, told me one day on set when I was prepping for a scene: ‘Lili. Do you see the way you walk around set when you are producing? You know exactly what needs to be done and you are on a mission to do it. That’s Pauline. Be that side of you.’ I took that to heart and from thence forth, I really started to find the character. She was a blast to play. I miss her!”

In the dressing room (Lili Fuller and Joe Sofranco, far right).

In the dressing room (Lili Fuller and Joe Sofranco, far right).

Is the world of US collegiate theatre really as cutthroat  as you suggest in the show?
“No. Haha. Even when we write in the byline that it’s about ‘cutthroat’ Shakespeare competitions, we’re kind of poking fun at the idea itself. A Shakespeare competition, no matter how big, could never possibly be as cutthroat as many of the other competitions in our world. What’s more cutthroat than the competition itself, and what we’re kind of playing at, are the neuroses in young actors’ minds when they go to these competitions, the idea in their minds that THIS IS EVERYTHING.

“When you see the show you’ll learn that, much of the ‘cutthroat’ mentality is brewed from these individual insecurities, the pressure that young actors feel to be ‘the best’, and the hilarity that ensues when you put a pressure cooker on these insecurities. The truth is, US collegiate theatre is as friendly and non-cutthroat as the people who are in it. In our collegiate experience, we had a very collaborative, open, ensemble environment, and I imagine that’s how it is in most college theater programs in the US.”

So who is the most scheming and ambitious character in the show?
“That’s gotta be James, the proctor of the American Shakespeare Competition. I won’t ruin anything, but let’s just say that he has a past history with the competition himself.”

To see Pauline in full effect, check out Lili’s clips from Complete Works here.

Three new Shakespeare plays from Globe on Screen

Jessie Buckley as Miranda and Roger Allam as Prospero in The Tempest.

Jessie Buckley as Miranda and Roger Allam as Prospero in The Tempest.

Shakespeare’s Globe, in partnership with Arts Alliance Media, will bring three of its 2013 ‘Season of Plenty’ theatre performances to cinemas around the world this summer. Following  last year’s Henry V, The Taming of the Shrew and Twelfth Night, Globe On Screen 2014 will feature a trio of supernatural Shakespeare classics: The Tempest from 28 May, Macbeth from 25 June and A Midsummer Night’s Dream from 15 July, with additional encore screenings.

All three performances have been captured in high definition and will be broadcast in their entirety in pristine digital cinema quality, with full 5.1 surround sound offering audiences the opportunity to experience the world’s most famous stage as if they were there in person.

Globe On Screen continued to go from strength to strength last year, with a record-breaking 2013 season of over 2000 screenings in 12 countries. Box office grosses in 2013 increased by more than 300% from 2012 and Twelfth Night, starring Mark Rylance and Stephen Fry, proved to be the best performing Globe On Screen production to date.

Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe, Dominic Dromgoole, says of Globe On Screen “Thousands of people saw these enchanting sell-out productions at the Globe last year, and we are delighted to be taking them to thousands more across the world with the latest cinema releases. From Colin Morgan’s otherworldly Ariel to Samantha Spiro’s earthy, tempestuous Lady Macbeth, 2013 was a season of dazzling performances in definitive productions of three of Shakespeare’s greatest plays.”

Tickets for the 2014 season are on sale now. Find more info and showtimes here.

The new Globe On Screen season will also be releasing later this year on selected screens across North America, Australasia and Europe.


Globe’s Read Not Dead revives Nathan Field comedy Amends For Ladies at Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Sunday 18 May sees the pioneering Read Not Dead project from Shakespeare’s Globe make its debut in the newly opened Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.

Amends For Ladies by Nathan Field is a satirical and witty city comedy in which a maid, wife and widow have their virtue questioned by the men who claim to love them.

Bringing the text back to life with Read Not Dead.

Bringing the text back to life with Read Not Dead.


The Read Not Dead concept is brilliantly simple. Actors are given a script on a Sunday morning and work with a director to get the play up on its feet – with entrances and exits, token costume, props and music if needed. They present it, script-in-hand, to an audience at 4pm that very same day.

Read Not Dead was launched in 1995 and brings actors, audiences and scholars together to explore and celebrate the plays performed on London stages between 1567-1642. About 400 plays of the period have survived in print – Read Not Dead has staged over 200 of them to date, and all are recorded for archive.

Amends For ladies by Nathan Field
Sunday 18 May, 4pm-7pm
Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Shakespeare’s Globe,
21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London SE1 9DT

For more information on this event and for further upcoming
Read Not Dead presentations, go here.


Free talk! Professor Tiffany Stern explores the meaning of Time in the age of Shakespeare

“The two hours’ traffic of our stage…”

Shakespearean time traveller Professor Tiffany Stern.

Shakespearean time traveller Professor Tiffany Stern.

What does Shakespeare mean when the Prologue to Romeo and Juliet announces that the performance will last two hours? Join Professor Tiffany Stern at London’s new Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, as she asks how time was understood in an age of sandglasses, sundials and inaccurate clockwork. Considering the sound and the look of the instruments of time, this event will ask about Shakespeare’s works ranging from the practical to the editorial and to the analytical.

How long did Shakespeare’s plays take to perform? Why are Shakespearean characters associated with ways of measuring time? And what did terms like an hour, a minute, or a second actually convey to a Shakespearean audience?

Tiffany Stern is Professor of Early Modern Drama at the University of Oxford. Her books include Rehearsal from Shakespeare to Sheridan (2000), Making Shakespeare (2004), Shakespeare in Parts (2007) and Documents of Performance in Early Modern England (2009).

The two hours’ traffic of our stage: Time for Shakespeare – with Professor Tiffany Stern

Wednesday 21 May, 6pm-7.15pm Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Shakespeare’s Globe, London

The talk is FREE to attend, but please register online here.

Win! Our Beautiful Shakespeare Swan!

To celebrate the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth on 23 April 1564, we have commissioned this beautiful and entirely original ceramic work from artist Hannah Tribe.
Titled ‘Sweet Swan of Avon’, it will make a uniquely perfect centrepiece to the writing desk of any Shakespeare fan.
To be in with a chance of winning our lovely swan, simply send an email to shakespearemag@outlook.com with ‘Swan Comp’ in the subject line.
Don’t forget to include your name, address, postcode and contact number. We will accept entries from outside the UK, but please be sure to include full contact details.
The closing date for this competition is Monday 26 May – and may fortune favour you!

Shakespeare Magazine's unique ceramic swan.

Shakespeare Magazine’s unique ceramic swan.


Ceramic artist Hannah Tribe writes:
“Shakespeare symbolism is woven all the way through this piece, made from unglazed porcelain to produce a tactile surface which sings gently when handled. It is inscribed with the words of the poet and playwright Ben Jonson (1572-1637) who unforgettably eulogised his friend William Shakespeare as the ‘Sweet swan of Avon’.
“Shakespeare himself used the swan as an allegory for beauty in Romeo and Juliet. Benvolio persuades Romeo to forget about Rosalind with the word “I will make thee think thy swan a crow”. The graceful swan also draws parallels with Hamlet’s Ophelia, floating in the water “incapable of her own distress”. The flowers nestled within the swan’s back represent those Ophelia collects during the play – daisies for innocence and purity, pansies for unrequited love. The other flowers are intended to evoke Sir John Everett Millais’ painting of Ophelia, which was itself rich with the language of flowers.”

Ceramic artist Hannah Tribe.

Ceramic artist Hannah Tribe.


“A passion for making” is what led young Welsh artist Hannah Tribe to study Drawing and Applied Art at the University of the West of England. Here, she developed an interest in creating work using techniques associated with notions of traditional female craft. In so doing, she attempts to address the everyday conflicts between feminism and femininity. She continues to experiment with works in embroidery, floristry, cake decoration and ceramics.