Celebrating 450 years of Shakespeare in London

Date Posted: 08/01/2014

The Globe

Pictured: Audiences watch a Shakespeare production at The Globe Theatre.

With 2014 marking 450 years since the birth of playwright William Shakespeare, London is preparing for a year-long celebration with a series of special events taking place for groups to get involved in.

Whether it’s watching the world tour of Hamlet which opens on 23rd April at Shakespeare’s Globe or visiting an exhibition dedicated to the life of the Bard at the V&A, there’s plenty for groups of all ages to get involved in.

Discover Shakespeare at The Globe

The open air theatre’s 2014 season will mark Shakespeare’s anniversary with new productions of Antony & Cleopatra, Julius Caesar and The Comedy of Errors. Group travel organisers can also catch the world tour of Hamlet Globe to Globe which will open at The Globe on 23rd April and tour every country in the world over a two-year period. 

A new indoor theatre will also open at the Globe named after its visionary founder; the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. The candlelit venue’s first performance this month will be the The Duchess of Malfi.

Open all year round, the Globe Exhibition & Tour gives groups an opportunity to learn more about the building and its most famous playwright. Based under the Globe Theatre, the exhibition explores the life of Shakespeare, his life in London, and the theatre for which he wrote.

Take a tour at Middle Temple Hall

The first performance of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is said to have taken place in Middle Temple Hall in 1602 with Queen Elizabeth I in attendance.

The Elizabethan hall remains virtually unaltered since completion in the 1570s.

Guided tours can be booked in advance by contacting the Events Department on 020-7427 4820. Lunch at the hall is also available upon request.

Our Greatest Living Playwright at the V&A

Shakespeare: Our Greatest Living Playwright is an immersive installation examining the influence and popularity of the playwright.

Drawing together objects from the V&A collection and interviews with key contemporary practitioners, Shakespeare: Our Greatest Living Playwright looks at how his plays have travelled across centuries and continents to be used as a springboard for theatrical re-imaginings and interpretation.

Middle Temple Hall

Pictured: Middle Temple Hall is reportedly where the first performance of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night took place.

The exhibition runs from 8th February until 28th September. You’re advised to pre-book when arranging a group trip for ten or more poeple. Guided tours and private talks are also available throughout the V&A museum.

Walk in William’s footsteps on a guided tour

London Walks takes Shakespeare (and Dickens) fans back in time visiting half-timbered Elizabethan dwellings and the early 16th-century gatehouse where the Bard went with his plays to the offices of the Elizabethan Master of the Revels.

For two hours groups can explore the world of both Shakespeare and Dickens, with tours running every Wednesday at 11am and Sunday at 2pm. Private tours can also be arranged.

Step back in time at The Rose Theatre

When it was erected in 1587, The Rose was only the fifth purpose-built theatre in London, and the first on Bankside - an area already rich in other leisure attractions such as brothels, gaming dens and bear-baiting arenas.

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 campaign to rebuild the theatre has been underway. 

Theatregoers can visit The Rose every Saturday or go and see one of the productions taking place throughout the year, including Shakespeare’s Richard III (1st - 26th April).

Fall in Love with Shakespeare

Seven times Academy Award® winning film Shakespeare in Love is to be adapted for the stage and will start its run at the Noel Coward Theatre this summer.

Preview performances of this theatre premiere begin in early July, with box office bookings starting in February. Group rates are available for parties of ten or more people.

Shakespeare in Love

Pictured: Shakespeare in Love will open at the Noel Coward theatre this summer.

The play will tell the tale of how, plagued by debt, tormented by writer’s block and in desperate need of a new hit, promising new playwright Shakespeare finds his muse in the form of passionate young noblewoman, Viola De Lesseps.

Their forbidden love soon draws everyone, including Queen Elizabeth I herself, into the drama and inspires him to write one of the greatest love stories of all time, Romeo and Juliet.

These ideas were generated by London & Partners, the official promotional organisation for London. Group travel organisers can find further information about any of the featured attractions on the London & Partners website.

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