Celebrate Shakespeare's birthday with us

We’re throwing a digital party all week for Shakespeare’s 456th birthday

4 minute read

William Shakespeare turns a very respectable 456 this week, and whilst we cannot celebrate his birthday in our usual fashion, we do have plenty in store to raise a glass or two to ol’ Bill. Here are just nine ways you can join us for our digital birthday party…

Happy Birthday Shakey! hand written text alongside an image of Shakespeare wearing a party hat

‘It is my (456th) birth-day’ — Antony and Cleopatra, Act III, scene 13.

Watch some of the greatest stories ever written, for free

Shakespeare’s famous tragedy of star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet, was due to kick off our summer 2020 season this week, and we can’t think of a better way to mark Shakespeare’s birthday than being virtually transported to a 2009 Globe Theatre to watch Dominic Dromgoole’s beautiful Elizabethan production.

Now streaming for free on our YouTube channel, Ellie Kendrick, a truly youthful Juliet, and Adetomiwa Edun, a boyish Romeo, fall in love, in spite of their long-standing family feud.

You can also catch Emma Rice’s naughty, tender and magical A Midsummer Night’s Dream from 2016 on BBC iPlayer for free, as part of the BBC’s Culture in Quarantine. A true festival of theatre, this production fused music, dance and some serious comedy.

Not only that, but Shakespeare’s late, great masterpiece, The Tempest, is also available on BBC iPlayer. With Roger Allam as troubled sorcerer Prospero, and Colin Morgan as the magical Ariel, this production from 2013 featured Renaissance costumes and staging.

Great white spheres hang above a colorful Globe Theatre

Emma Rice’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a true festival of theatre, is now available to watch on BBC iPlayer. Photographer: Steve Tanner.

Join Globe actors for a digital celebration of Shakespeare’s speeches

Our Love in Isolation series launches today, with performances of Shakespeare’s words (quotes, sonnets, soliloquies, even stage directions!) from our extended Globe family in their places of solitude and isolation.

This week, you can see performances from Stephen Fry, Athena Stevens and Shubham Saraf.

Future artists include Alfred Enoch, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Jenifer Toksvig, Kathryn Hunter, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Nadia Albina, Paul Ready, Roger Allam, Sandi Toksvig, and Sophie Stone.

What’s more, last week we partnered with The Guardian on relaunching their Shakespeare Solos and asked you to send in your performances of speeches from As You Like It, Hamlet, and The Tempest, to join leading actors in a digital celebration of Shakespeare’s works. Over 500 of you from all over the world sent your submissions – can you spot yourself in the finished video below?

Our friends at Vivienne Westwood are also celebrating Shakespeare’s birthday through their  #MirrorTheWorld campaign, which sees the iconic brand collaborate globally with artists, actors, writers, poets, musicians and academics across the world.

The Quarantine Players perform three of Shakespeare’s iconic speeches as part of The Guardian’s Shakespeare Solos project.

Listen to our Love In Isolation podcast special

To mark the launch of Love in Isolation, our Artistic Director Michelle Terry speaks to renowned director Peter Brook about Shakespeare’s sonnets in the latest episode of our podcast, Such Stuff.

They discuss the unique insight into Shakespeare that the sonnets provide and how the idea of love permeates all 154 of them. This episode also includes performances from actress Kathryn Hunter.

Stay social

Join the party on social media and wish a #HappyBirthdayShakespeare to the big man. We’re on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as @The_Globe and always love to hear from you!

Send a gift

In this unprecedented time for the cultural sector, and as a charity that receives no  regular  government subsidy, we need donations to help us to continue to thrive  in the future. If you are able to, please donate what you can to help us continue to share Shakespeare’s gift of stories. If you donate, and are an eligible UK taxpayer, we will be able to increase your donation by 25% due to Gift Aid at no extra cost to you. If you’d like to support us, you can donate online.

You can also donate via Text. To donate £20, £10 or £5, text GLOBE 20, GLOBE 10, or GLOBE 5 to 70460. Texts cost the donation amount plus one standard rate message. Thank you.

A cake of the Globe Theatre.

A birthday isn’t complete without our very own Globe Theatre in cake form.