Much ado about something: The Bard @ 450

William Shakespeare, the Bard @ 450, anniversary of Shakespeare birth, celebrating Shakespeare, Shakespeare celebrations USA, international celebrations, what’s happening in New York,

All the world’s a stage, as William Shakespeare penned in As You Like It, and all the men and women who gather this month (and beyond) to celebrate Shakespeare’s 450th birthday are merely players.

If you thought the Bardaroos were in a frenzy for last year’s celebrations, this milestone year promises even more. Many of the initiatives and events started last year continue bigger and better this year.

A Shakespeare explosion in the USA

New York City is jam-packed with celebrations for Shakespeare’s 450th birthday – theater, film, music, dance and discussion. Here are some of the many offerings.

> The New York Public Library is offering a lecture series on the Bard that is free and open to the public. All lectures are in the main library at Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street.

> The Shakespeare Society hosts Harvard professor, Stephen Greenblatt, (author Will in the World) in partnership with the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) for an evening’s exploration of writers and language.

In addition, the Shakespeare Society celebrates Will with dance in a night of collaboration with the American Ballet Theatre in performing The Tempest. The event spotlights the curious relationship between the Bard’s plays and choreographic interpretations.

> New York Shakespeare Exchange’s The Sonnet Project continues its internet videos of all 154 sonnets, performed by 154 different actors in 154 unique locations throughout the five boroughs of New York City. The culmination of the project will be marked by the release of the full Sonnet Project Anthology with features that explore the textual nuances of the language, behind-the-scenes footage, and interviews with the creators and actors.

> With the bounty of the Bard on stage in the city, The New York Times presents seven ideas for teaching and learning Shakespeare, and encourages suggestions from educators for their teaching methods.

Philadelphia, PA USA

> Philly loves Will. The Year of the Bard: Shakespeare at 450 has been organized by the Free Library of Philadelphia library, the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, and other cultural organizations around the area. Throughout 2014, this huge event offers Shakespeare buffs and newcomers numerous fun and festive ways to join the celebration.

> WRTi, a jazz and classical radio station out of Philadelphia, presents Discoveries from the Fleisher Collection to celebrate the birth of Shakespeare with many Fleisher works inspired by Shakespeare including King Lear and Hamlet.

 Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN USA

The Twin Cities hosts a contest, honoring Shakespeare’s 450th in a 45-second Film Festival Contest. Its motto: “Brush up your Shakespeare, start filming him now.”

Washington, DC USA

At The Folger Shakespeare Library, the Folger Institute Center for Shakespeare Studies will undertake a rigorous investigation of the multiple – and conflicted – roles biography plays in the reception of Shakespeare today.

International Festivities

England UK


> The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) is going big. RSC will lead a nationwide celebration between Shakespeare’s 450th birthday on 23 april 2014 to the 400th anniversary of his death, 23 april 2016 culminating with Dream 16  – a nationwide tour of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with performances throughout the UK.

RSC in cinemas: Don’t live in the UK? See the company live – on film.  Starting with a production of Richard II in November 2013 (starring David Tennant) live performances from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre will be broadcast to selected movie theaters around the world.

> The first Shakespeare Week takes place across the UK in celebration of the Bard @ 450. This annual learning campaign for British primary schools will be officially launched in London on 16 april. The goal: bring Shakespeare’s stories, language, historical backdrop and creative influence to life for more than 3 million children and ensure that his legacy is a central part of learning.

> Literary London is hosting a year-long celebration in honor of the 450th anniversary. From an immersive installation at the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) to a unique performance in Middle Temple, Bard fans will be deliriously happy all through 2014.

> All Shakespeare all the time at Shakespeare’s Globe.


Will’s birthplace is abuzz with celebrations marking 450. On 26 + 27 april, Stratford-upon-Avon will be leading the world in celebrating and paying tribute to Britain’s most famous playwright and poet. Check out the festivities.

Paris, France

Shakespeare 450: The Société Française Shakespeare hosts a week-long conference that includes lectures and seminars along with performances at theaters, concert halls, museums, libraries, artists’ studios and bookshops.

“Frame your mind to mirth and merriment, which bars a thousand harms and lengthens life.”

The Taming of the Shrew, Introduction, Scene 2

Flickr photo: by TravelEden under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0). Photo illustration: Janet Giampietro

2 Responses to “Much ado about something: The Bard @ 450”

  1. Robert Greenwood Says:

    Most Wholesome Physic: Medicine in the Age of Shakespeare, 1564-1616.
    An exhibition at the Library of the Royal Society of Medicine to mark the 450th anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare.

    Tuesday 6 May 2014 until Saturday 26th July 2014.

    Monday – Thursday: 9.00 – 21.00
    Friday: 9.00 – 17.30
    Saturday: 10.00 – 16.30
    Admission free. Open to all.

    The Library,
    Royal Society of Medicine
    1 Wimpole Street
    London W1G 0AE

    William Shakespeare was born at Stratford-upon-Avon on 23 April 1564. This exhibition of books from the Library of the Royal Society of Medicine is intended to mark the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth. Almost all of the books on display were published in Shakespeare’s lifetime, and show many of the medical preoccupations of the age, liberally juxtaposed with quotations from the plays and poems. This was a great period for books published in the vernacular and therefore more accessible to a lay public, so much emphasis is given in this exhibition to works written in English, or translated into English.

  2. Janet Says:


    Thank you for the addition to the list of Shakespeare celebrations.

    janet g

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