Stage Friday, April 22nd Words by: Lauren Rogers

All the world’s a stage: where to celebrate Shakespeare's 400th in Herefordshire

Stage Friday, April 22nd

All the world’s a stage: where to celebrate Shakespeare's 400th in Herefordshire

This Saturday marks exactly 400 years since Big Will shuffled off this mortal coil - which is why William Shakespeare lovers the world over will be busy commemorating the playwright’s death.

In London, the Globe is staging 37 films along the South Bank, in Washington DC they’re holding a symposium in celebration of the Bard’s best texts, a new production of Macbeth is already up and running in Singapore, and in South Korea there’ll be monologues and sonnets performed live in Seoul.

Here in Herefordshire, we'll have plays within plays, live screenings, parodies and fancy dress. Here's our round up of what’s happening in and around Herefordshire over the coming months.

Shake-Fest: World Book Night with Kate Charles and Leintwardine Players

When: Saturday, April 23 from 6.30pm

Where: Leintwardine Community Centre

The Leintwardine Players will be perform the play within a play at this one-off World Book Night event, part of Herefordshire Libraries Book Festival.

WBN coincides with Shakespeare's birthday/day of his death and sees thousands of passionate readers giving free books away with the awesome aim of sharing the love. At Leintwardine Library, an array of book worms and authors, including Kate Charles - author of the Book of Psalms mysteries, will be on hand to mark the Shakespearian milestone, promote WBN and discuss the book festival's young writer's competition.

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A Shakespeare Gallimaufry

When: Saturday, April 23 at 8pm

Where: The Conquest Theatre, Bromyard

A selection of sketches, songs, readings and parodies of plays performed by Herefordshire's Wye Theatre Company.

The performance aims to show Shakespeare and his plays in a slightly different light.

And Gallimaufry, in case you were wondering, means a 'complete mixture' and is one of an estimated 1,700 words the playwright invented.

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Antic Disposition's Henry V

When: Monday, April 25 to Thursday, April 28

Where: Bristol, Gloucester and Worcester Cathedrals

Sadly it's not coming to Hereford but Antic Disposition's heavily praised reimagining of Shakespeare's Henry V is now on tour. The production, which marks both the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 1616 and the centenary of the Battle of the Somme in 1916, combines the history play with original songs and music inspired by the poetry of AE Housman. It's performed by an international cast of British and French actors.

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Shake-Fest: Dreams, fairy tales and legends

When: Saturday, April 23, 10am

Where: Leintwardine Library

This is a free drop-in session suitable for 3+ years, celebrating all things Shakespearan. There'll be dressing up, face-painting and photographs, as well as the opportunity to decorate biscuits, make crowns and fairy wings and then hear stories and songs with a Shakespearian twist.

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Two Williams, Two Commemorations

When: Friday, April 22 at 7.30pm

Where: Hereford Cathedral

This recital at Hereford Cathedral's College Hall commemorates Shakespeare and the life of a less-well known William, namely Hereford composer William Felton.

Priest and composer Felton was a senior Vicar Choral during the 18th century, writing organ concerti and other musical works and Friday night's concert will feature Felton’s music as well as Shakespeare’s sonnets, an excerpt of a Shakespeare Ode and the reinstating of a portrait of Felton.

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The Sonnets: Germaine Greer, Professor Jerry Brotton

When: Monday, May 30 at 7pm

Where: Hay Festival

As part of Hay Festival’s big Shakespeare 400 Celebrations, writer and lecturer Germaine Greer will discuss the playwright’s poetry. Greer is the author of Shakespeare's Wife, a robust account of Shakespeare's wife Anne Hathaway, aka the woman who was left only the second best bed when he died.

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Hamlet, RSC Live

When: Wednesday, June 8, 7pm

Where: The Courtyard, Hereford

An RSC Live production beamed into the city's arts centre. 

Simon Godwin (The Two Gentlemen of Verona, 2014) directs Paapa Essiedu as Hamlet in Shakespeare’s searing tragedy. As relevant today as when it was written, the epic confronts each of us with the mirror of our own mortality in an imperfect world.

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