HAPPY birthday William Shakespeare!
Thousands lined the streets of Stratford on Saturday (April 25) to celebrate the 451st anniversary of the birth of the town’s famous son.
The traditional ‘cradle to the grave’ parade from the birthplace to the Bard’s final resting place at Holy Trinity was the highlight of a weekend of celebrations which also included events staged by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the Royal Shakespeare Company.
And the enormous horse-drawn birthday cake, freshly decorated by pupils from the Willows Primary School with the help of artist Barbara Fidoe and Escape Community Arts, returned for the second year – with ‘icing’ design is inspired by the 600th anniversary of the battle of Agincourt.
Everyone also had the chance to enjoy a free piece of birthday cake – either by taking part in the shop window cupcake trail or from Stratford College’s stall on Waterside where students handed out cupcakes.
The annual Shakespeare Birthday Luncheon saw Kenneth Branagh receive the Pragnell Shakespeare Birthday Award
“for outstanding achievement in extending the appreciation and enjoyment” of the playwright.
Pupils from the Willows line the route. 17.015.007.strat.jm29
Quill Pagent – William Shakespeare hands over the Quill to KES head boy, Aleksei Zaboronksy signaling the ceremony to unfurl the many international flags lining the parade route. 17.015.007.strat.jm2
The Agincourt birthday cake makes its way from the birthplace down Bridge Street. 17.015.007.strat.jm4
Shipston Town Crier Marion Lowe lets everyone know whose birthday it is. 17.015.007.strat.jm8
Flying the flag for Shakespeare. 17.015.007.strat.jm35
Morris Men jig for the Bard. 17.015.007.strat.jm53
The procession heads down Sheep Street. 17.015.007.strat.jm3
Alas… poor Yorick… Shakespearean actors at the birthplace put on a performance for visitors. 17.015.007.strat.jm52
In tune. 17.015.007.strat.jm16