Shakespeare’s birthday celebrations, held annually for almost 200 years, take place this weekend with a grand procession kicking off festivities at 10.35am on Saturday April 21, led by the Band of the Corps of Royal Engineers.
The Shakespeare Birthday Luncheon takes place at noon later that day at King Edward VI School with speakers including Michael Dobson, Director of The Shakespeare Institute.
Performance troupes from as far afield as China and Spain, as well as local theatre groups, will be entertaining on stages in the town centre and Bancroft Gardens throughout the weekend while author Salley Vickers, will be giving a lecture at The Shakespeare Centre.
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is also inviting visitors to sign giant birthday cards at their five Shakespeare Houses and Gardens.
The birthday celebrations mark the launch of the World Shakespeare Festival, part of the London 2012 Festival.
The Royal Shakespeare Company will be hosting a wide variety of activities including a stage-fighting workshop while families can try on costumes and have fake scars and bruises created by the RSC Wigs and Make-Up team.
Areas outside the theatres will also come alive with a world music stage, featuring artists from around the globe.
For more information, visit www.shakespearesbirthday.org.uk or www.worldshakespearefestival.org.uk.