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Shakespeare fans mark his birthday with virtual celebration

A general view of the outside of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon (Sam Allard/RSC)
A general view of the outside of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon (Sam Allard/RSC)

Fans of William Shakespeare from around the world have taken part in a virtual celebration of the playwright’s 456th birthday.

As part of a Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) campaign, birthday tributes have included a telling of Romeo And Juliet through emojis and a “micro-animated” Macbeth featuring baked beans and cacti.

The results of the #ShareYourShakespeare were shared by the RSC on Thursday as April 23 is often used to mark the writer’s birthday, although the exact date of his birth is not known.

Graham Norton Show – London
David Tennant helped launch the campaign (Isabel Infantes/PA)

The campaign was originally launched by actor David Tennant, who gave a rendition of the poem The Seven Ages Of Man.

Harriet Walter, John Kani and Adjoa Andoh also contributed towards the campaign.

Gregory Doran, artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, said they had been “overwhelmed” by the “creativity and resourcefulness” of those who contributed to the campaign.

He added: “Whether recreating Romeo And Juliet in Lego, reciting Hamlet to your cat or re-enacting the Battle of Agincourt in the back garden, we’re thrilled to see so many embracing their inner creativity in quarantine through their shared love of Shakespeare.”

General view of The Globe Theatre
The Globe Theatre (Stephen Kelly/PA)

Mr Doran also said that Shakespeare himself had experience of working in isolation.

“When he was just starting as a playwright in London, the theatres were commanded to close, at which point Shakespeare wrote two magnificent narrative poems, Venus And Adonis and The Rape Of Lucrece,” he said.

“Then again, when the Globe was told to haul down its flag and bolt its doors again in 1609, he published his collection of 154 sonnets.

“For those of us trying to be as creative as possible in lockdown, Shakespeare’s example is a little intimidating.

“Nevertheless, we can all play our part, big or small, in coming together to celebrate and connect with each other on Shakespeare’s 456th birthday.”

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