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Saturday 22 April: events for the whole family in and around the RSC’s theatres, as part of the annual Birthday Celebrations

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) will celebrate Shakespeare’s 453rd birthday on Saturday 22 April, with the return of two showings of Wondrous Strange, an outdoor acrobatic Shakespeare-themed performance, and a range of free activities for the family.  The Shakespeare Birthday performance will be Julius Caesar in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre at 7.15pm.

Bancroft Gardens, 12noon and 2.30pm, Free, no booking required – just turn up

Following its highly successful inclusion in last year’s Birthday Celebrations, where it was enjoyed by over 5000 people, acrobatic theatre company, Mimbre, returns to present Wondrous Strange.   Taking place on the Bancroft Gardens at 12noon and 2.30pm, these 45 minute performances are free, and will feature some of Shakespeare’s most iconic characters: cheeky fairies taunt Bottom (from A Midsummer Night’s Dream) in a raucous dance, Romeo and Juliet court each other on a balancing ladder, multiple Hamlets manipulate a stream of skulls, Kings fight and die at a relentless pace, and Ophelia (from Hamlet) slowly floats by on a bed of flowers.


All activities take place in the Demonstration Zone in The Studio Theatre at The Other Place.  Tickets are free, and half of the number of the tickets will be available to book in advance via the RSC Box Office from the beginning of March, with the other half of the tickets being available in person on the day from 10am at the RSC box office.  Box Office:, 01789 403493

11.30am - 12.15pm
Technical Rehearsal
Get an insight into how the technical elements of a production are combined with the action on stage, with opportunities to take part and run the show.

12.30 - 1.15pm
Theatre Design Q&A
Come and hear how our productions go from design to full scale sets with RSC Trainee Designers.  See costume designs and model box in close detail, with a chance to ask questions about getting into design.

1.30 – 2pm
Vocal Warm up
Warm up your voice just as RSC actors do with RSC Voice and Text Coach, Anna McSweeney.

2.15 - 3.00pm
Stage Fight Demo
Watch the professionals bring together a stage fight worthy of a Julius Caesar battle, with a chance to learn a few (safe!) punches of your own.

3.15 - 4pm
Rehearsing Shakespeare
Get an insight into how a scene is taken off the page and onto the stage, with an Assistant Director and actors showing the type of exercises and discussion that take place during rehearsals.



Roman Crafts
Free, Upper Foyer, The Other Place
11.30am – 4pm, suitable for all ages
Help artist Johnny O’Hanlon create a giant piece of Roman-inspired art.  This is a drop-in event which runs for three days between Thursday 20 – Saturday 22 April.

Live Music
Free, Various times
Listen out for live music around the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Swan Theatre between performances.

Sonnet Ferry
50p per crossing, Stratford Chain Ferry outside The Other Place,
12 – 4pm
Listen to Shakespeare’s poetry as you cross the River Avon, read to you by RSC actors.



Visitors to Stratford can also take advantage of exploring two exhibitions: Draw New Mischief and The Play’s The Thing, details below.

Draw New Mischief
Free, PACCAR Room, Level 2, Royal Shakespeare Theatre
All Day
This exhibition runs 25 February – 15 October 2017

A free exhibition exploring 250 years of Shakespeare and political cartoons.

Shakespeare’s plays have long shaped the way we understand and engage with contemporary politics and nowhere is this more clearly seen than in the works of political cartoonists. Celebrating more than two centuries of political cartoons inspired by Shakespeare and to coincide with our forthcoming Rome Season, the exhibition includes historic and recent political cartoons and new commissions by five cartoonists including Steve Bell and Christian Adams.

The Play’s The Thing
A permanent exhibition in the Swan Theatre

Take a magical journey through 100 years of theatre-making in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Discover rarely-seen treasures from our museum and archive: exquisite costumes, amazing model-boxes and weird and wonderful props. Get hands-on and celebrate the creativity behind the scenes.  Tickets: £8.50 (adult), £4.25 (child).  Tickets for The Play’s The Thing can be booked in advance via

reIMAGINE history
11.30 – 4pm, Free
Swan Theatre building

Inspired by our exciting stage history and The Play’s The Thing exhibition, our reIMAGINE group will bring the RSC’s heritage to life with events created by young people, for young people. The group of 13-16 year olds from Coventry and Warwickshire have worked together for the past 3 months with theatre professionals to explore our history and create special activities for our Birthday Celebrations. Come along and find
out more.

Geraldine Collinge, Director of Events and Exhibitions at the RSC said: “The Birthday Weekend is such a special time in Stratford’s calendar.  We’re delighted to be celebrating Shakespeare’s birthday with the return of Mimbre’s Wondrous Strange, a delightful acrobatic piece of theatre that went down so well last year.  What better way to enjoy Shakespeare than by seeing some of his most famous characters come to life as part of this visually stunning performance.  And, as always, we’ll also be offering people the chance to find out more about a range of theatre skills from theatre design to stage fighting.  I urge those who have not visited Stratford at this time of year to come along and experience the festivities.”

For more press information please contact:
Dean Asker
RSC Press Office
01789 412660, 0778 9937759

The Royal Shakespeare Company creates theatre at its best, made in Stratford-upon-Avon and shared around the world.  We produce an inspirational artistic programme each year, setting Shakespeare in context, alongside the work of his contemporaries and today’s writers.  


Everyone at the RSC - from actors to armourers, musicians to technicians - plays a part in creating the world you see on stage.  All our productions begin life at our Stratford workshops and theatres and we bring them to the widest possible audience through our touring, residencies, live broadcasts and online activity. So wherever you experience the RSC, you experience work made in Shakespeare’s home town.  


We have trained generations of the very best theatre makers and we continue to nurture the talent of the future. We encourage everyone to enjoy a lifelong relationship with Shakespeare and live theatre.  We reach over 500,000 children and young people annually through our education work, transforming their experiences in the classroom, in performance and online.  Registered charity no. 212481


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