Shakespeare Magazine witnessed the 2015 Shakespeare Birthday Parade held on 25 April in the Bard’s Stratford-upon-Avon birthplace


The Air Training Corps Band led the parade through the streets of Stratford. The route was extended this year to incorporate Shakespeare’s birthplace on Henley Street – taking the parade from cradle to grave.

A staple part of the celebrations is the town’s William Shakespeare and his wife at the front of the walking parade.

The big birthday cake this year was themed around the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt, a battle which features in Shakespeare’s Henry V. The cake was decorated by local school children and artists.

Gregory Doran, Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, taking part in the walking parade to leave flowers at Shakespeare’s grave in Holy Trinity Church.

The annual handing over of the quill between Shakespeare and the head boy of King Edward’s School, which Shakespeare attended as a boy. This recent tradition was added to the parade at the suggestion of Gregory Doran, who felt it would symbolise that Shakespeare’s writing lives on.

The unfurling of the flags saw 451 gold and black balloons being released. Each balloon represented a year since Shakespeare’s birth.

There was plenty of entertainment around Stratford. At the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Keith Osborn read sonnets at the top of the viewing tower. We were treated to ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day’.

The view from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre tower, looking towards Holy Trinity Church.

There was street entertainment on every road. This was the Shakespeare Morris Dancers outside the town hall.

Holy Trinity Church: Shakespeare’s grave and monument beautifully adorned by all the floral tributes that were left from visitors around the world.

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