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The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Announces A Series of Special Events To Commemorate William Shakespeare’s 460th Birthday

Outside Shakespeare's Birthplace

Visitors to the hometown of William Shakespeare are invited to celebrate his 460th birthday with artist-led workshops, a pop-up exhibition and the historic Birthday Lecture as the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust explores the continued influence of the Women Who Made Shakespeare.

As Stratford-upon-Avon comes together with a host of vibrant celebrations on Saturday 20 April 2024, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, custodians of the Shakespeare family homes in Warwickshire, is inviting visitors to a series of festivities to mark William Shakespeare’s birthday ahead of his official birthday on 23 April.

Honouring the Impact of Mothers Through the Lens of the Women Who Made Shakespeare

On Saturday 20 April, from 12pm to 4pm, the Trust joins forces with four multi-disciplinary female artists from Mothers Who Make Coventry to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday and the women who influenced William, by exploring and responding to the key figures in his life, including his mother, Mary Arden, through their own artistic practice.

During the interactive workshops, the Warwickshire-based artists, who are all mothers and child carers, will explore the roles of mothers across generations, with a focus on the women who impacted and influenced Shakespeare the most, through a host of free drop-in workshops, suitable for all ages on Henley Street, right in front of the very house where the writer was born.

‘’Our aim was to create a new and exciting way for visitors of all ages to connect with the Shakespeare family through the lens of the Women Who Made Shakespeare. These workshops not only invite us to honour the wider impact of mothers, but it provides visitors with a unique way to delve into the lives of those nearest to William Shakespeare—women who played pivotal roles in shaping him into the remarkable man he became as we celebrate his birthday."

Commented Jennifer Shufflebotham, Audience Engagement Manager at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

From creating tactile sculptural ‘smudge’ bundles to exploring the familiar textures of Shakespeare’s women’s every-day lives, each workshop offers a unique opportunity for attendees to meet the artist, discover more about the different techniques or processes they use, whilst honouring the women closest to William Shakespeare.

‘’I’ve truly enjoyed collaborating with the talented artists Ania Bas, Janet Tryner, Rosie Bolton and Natalie Zervou-Kerruish to co-curate this event and I can’t wait to see what people create during the day.’’

Added Jennifer.

Hear From Academics and Experts

Seen as the start of the Shakespeare Birthday celebrations, guests are invited to Stratford on Friday 19 April to take part in a special one-day public conference where an esteemed panel of academics explore the impact of women on the continued legacy of William Shakespeare.

‘’I’m delighted to be chairing the Birthday Lecture and to be joined by Professor Lena Orlin (Georgetown University), Professor Laurie Maguire (University of Oxford) and Professor Lois Potter (University of Delaware) to talk about the female experience and the women who impacted William Shakespeare in the heart of Stratford-upon-Avon.

‘’Whether online or in person, we invite everyone to join us as we celebrate Stratford’s most famous son ahead of a weekend of festivities across the town.’’

Commented Professor Charlotte Scott, Director of Knowledge at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

Following a thoughtful and insightful discussion, the day culminates in the ever-popular Shakespeare Birthday Lecture from 4pm to 5pm where all the speakers will be in conversation, chaired by Professor Charlotte Scott, Director of Knowledge at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

During the visit, in-person attendees will also have the chance to explore the Trust’s new exhibition, Hidden Voices, where they can explore the stories of life and loss, commerce and healing of the remarkable women who lived and worked together at Shakespeare’s New Place.

Both the one-day conference and the Shakespeare Birthday lecture are organised by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the Shakespeare Institute, part of the University of Birmingham.

Centuries Old Wreath Exchange With the Goethe Haus

In honour of two of the greatest European writers, on Saturday 20 April, from 9.30am to 10.30am, Dr Jasmin Behrouzi-Rühl and Dr Joachim Seng from Goethe Haus will exchange birthday wreaths with representatives from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

Since 1864, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the Frankfurter Goethe-Haus, the birthplace of German writer Johann Wolfgang Goethe, who had strong ties to and was heavily influenced by Shakespeare, have celebrated the anniversaries of the birth of each other’s respective authors by exchanging wreaths.

During the ceremony, the first ever wreath presented by the Goethe Haus to the town in 1864 will be put on display along with other collections materials at Shakespeare’s Birthplace for visitors to see in person.

View Unique Art Works at a Pop-Up Shop and Exhibition

That’s not all - visitors will also be invited to browse exclusive artwork at a free pop-up shop and exhibition of fine art prints at Harvard House.

Run in collaboration with Historiart, one-of-a-kind Shakespeare-inspired fine art prints will be displayed and available for purchase, inviting visitors to take home a piece of the experience.

The exhibition will feature works by artists Steve Thomas, Royalston, Benjamin Wachenje, Andrew Rowland, Karl Fitzgerald, Peter Diamond, Eve Lloyd Knight and Adam Stothard and will be open from 10.30am to 3.30pm on both Saturday and Sunday.

For more information about the Trust’s Shakespeare’s Birthday celebrations, please visit: