This year would be William Shakespeare's 450th birthday. (We say he doesn't look a day over 375.) In order to celebrate the Bard of Stratford-upon-Avon, London is gearing up for a year-long celebration. Courtesy of London & Partners, here are some ways to honor Shakespeare and all his accomplishments.
21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, SE1 9DT
The open air theatre’s 2014 season will mark the writer’s anniversary with new productions of Antony & Cleopatra, Julius Caesar and The Comedy of Errors. A world tour of Hamlet Globe to Globe will begin at Shakespeare’s Globe on April 23 and tour every country in the world over the next two years. A new indoor theatre will also open at the Globe named after the space's founder – the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. Opening this month, the candlelit venue’s first performance will be the The Duchess of Malfi (which was written by John Webster, but since the character appeared in Shakespeare in Love, we'll let it go.)
Open all year round, the Globe Exhibition & Tour lets visitors learn more about the building and its most famous playwright. Based under the Globe Theatre, the Exhibition explores the life of Shakespeare, the London where he lived and the theatre for which he wrote.
Middle Temple Hall
Middle Temple Lane, EC4Y 9AT
The first performance of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is said to have taken place in the Hall in 1602 with Queen Elizabeth I in attendance. Middle Temple Hall remains virtually unaltered since completion in the 1570s and is one of the finest Elizabethan Halls in the country. Guided tours must be booked in advance by contacting the Events Department at 011-44-20-7427-4820. Lunch at the Hall is also available upon request.
V&A, Shakespeare: Our Greatest Living Playwright
Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL
This immersive installation will examine Shakespeare's influence and popularity. Drawing together objects from the V&A collection and interviews with key contemporary practitioners, Shakespeare: Our Greatest Living Playwright (February 8 – September 28) examines how Shakespeare’s plays have endured across centuries and continents to be used as a springboard for theatrical re-imaginings and interpretation.
London Walks, Shakespeare’s & Dickens’s London – The Old City
Meeting point: outside St. Paul’s Underground station
London Walks takes Shakespeare and Dickens fans back in time, visiting half-timbered Elizabethan dwellings and the magnificent early 16th-century gatehouse where the Bard went with his plays to the offices of the Elizabethan Master of the Revels. Traces of historic London are still visible here, and visitors can spend two hours exploring the worlds of both writers. Tours run every Wednesday, 11.00am and Sunday, 2.00pm.
The Rose Theatre
56 Park Street, SE1 9AS
When it was erected in 1587, The Rose was only the fifth purpose-built theatre in London, and the first on Bankside. Shakespeare’s plays performed at the theatre included Henry VI part I and Titus Andronicus. Once The Globe was built, the Rose disappeared into history in 1603. In 1989 the archaeological site of the Rose was discovered and since then a long campaign to rebuild the theatre has been underway. Theatregoers can visit the Rose every Saturday or go and see one of the productions including Richard III (April 1-26).
Shakespeare in Love, Noel Coward Theatre
85-88 St Martins Lane, London, WC2N 4AU
As we mentioned a few months back, the Oscar-winning film Shakespeare in Love will be adapted for the stage and will start its run at the Noel Coward Theatre in the summer of 2014. Preview performances begin in early July, with box office bookings starting in February. No cast has been announced yet, but we expect many of the West End's best will be eager to take the roles that earned Gwyneth Paltrow her Oscar and made Joseph Fiennes a star.
For more information, go to visitlondon.com.