April 26th is William Shakespeare’s birthday, and in celebration the Globe will be holding a whole day’s worth of family-friendly events this Sunday (April 21st).
This year the Globe is taking inspiration from Prospero, protagonist of The Tempest and fondly thought to be the bard’s self-portrait. Prospero, the exiled Duke of Milan, is one of the stage’s greatest sorcerers – so, fittingly, a theme of magic permeates this weekend’s festivities.
Birthday celebrations commence at 12pm, with an open house event aimed at families. Admission is free and visitors are invited to enjoy “an afternoon of family events, games and magical mayhem”. Shakespeare’s Globe says that it’ll be hosting magical masterclasses and roaming magicians, including Kevin McMahon, whose Edinburgh International Magic Festival appearances have brought him great acclaim. With “bubbling cauldrons” and “card trickery”, expect a lively pageant brimming with family-friendly fun.
The open day concludes at 5pm, and at 7pm the “Birthday Whirligig” commences – an evening of music, magic performances and comedy. With tickets starting at £10, this promises to be a genuinely one-of-a-kind event; with comedian Bridget Christie as compere, acts featured include The Magic Numbers, magical comedy double-act Barry and Stuart, and Chris Cox – “the mind reader who can’t read minds”.
Shakespeare was born in 1564, making 2013 the 449th anniversary of his birth. The original Globe theatre, where many of Shakespeare’s plays were originally performed in the 16th and 17th centuries – and which he co-owned – was destroyed by fire in 1613.
The modern building, which lies approximately 200 metres from the theatre’s original site in Bankside, Southwark, opened in 1997. Since then, the authentic timber-framed reconstruction has become a major tourist attraction for the capital. Served by several Underground stations – Blackfriars and London Bridge are both only ten minutes’ walk away – the theatre is easily accessible from most major landmarks and hotels in London.