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As London prepares to celebrate the birth of England’s most iconic playwright, a wide variety of Shakespearean happenings are emerging around the city. From visiting Shakespeare’s cherished Globe Theatre to touring the writer’s old Elizabethan haunts, Shakespeare enthusiasts and novices alike will discover plenty of enjoyable activities.
Shakespeare’s Globe PresentsIn celebration of the Bard’s 450th anniversary, Shakespeare’s Globe will present new productions of Julius Caesar, Antony & Cleopatra and The Comedy of Errors and launch a two-year world tour of its “Hamlet Globe to Globe” program, starting April 23.
Visitors to the Globe also have the opportunity to learn more about the life of Shakespeare and the theatre’s history through the Globe Exhibition & Tour, open year-round.
Middle Temple HallCompleted in the 1570s and considered one of the finest Elizabethan Halls in the country, Middle Temple Hall hosted the first performance of Twelfth Night in 1602, with Queen Elizabeth I watching from the audience. Visitors may tour the hall and the lantern-lit cobblestones on Middle Temple Lane by contacting the Events Department at 020 7427 4820 and booking a guided tour in advance.
V&A, Shakespeare: Our Greatest Living PlaywrightFrom Feb. 8 to Sept. 28, the Victoria and Albert Museum presents Shakespeare: Our Greatest Living Playwright, an immersive installation examining the Bard’s enduring popularity and influence. The display brings together interviews with important experts and pieces from the V&A collection.
Shakespeare’s & Dickens’ LondonEvery Wednesday and Sunday, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., London Walks takes Shakespeare and Dickens enthusiasts on a tour of the writers’ old haunts, such as the 16th-century gatehouse where the master playwright brought his plays to the Master of Revels. Tours meet outside St. Paul’s Underground station.
The Rose TheatreKnown as the stage where Shakespeare first learned his craft, the Rose Theatre was built in 1587 and, at the time, was the first theatre on Bankside. Plays performed at The Rose included Titus Andronicus and Henry VI part I. Eventually, the playhouse became overshadowed by The Globe and was abandoned in the early 1600s. In 1989, a campaign to restore the theatre began after its archaeological site was discovered. Now patrons are able to visit The Rose on Saturdays and enjoy productions such as Shakespeare’s Richard III, which runs April 1-26.
Noel Coward TheatreThis summer, an adaptation of the Oscar-winning film “Shakespeare in Love” will hit the stage at the Noel Coward Theatre. The play details Shakespeare’s grueling attempts to overcome writer’s block while troubled by debt, when a passionate woman named Viola De Lesseps becomes the source of his inspiration. Their story forms the subject of a play that was, at the time, a little-known piece called “Romeo and Juliet.”