William Shakespeare’s birthday is Thursday, April 23rd, 2020, and although we won’t be gathering on this day to enjoy performances, there are still many ways to celebrate, thanks to Folger Shakespeare Library and Royal Shakespeare Company.
There will be virtual Shakespeare birthday events, Shakespeare plays and Shakespeare-inspired movies to stream. There will also be fun things you can do on your own. You’re encouraged to share, with hashtag #ShareYourShakespeare, if you’d like.
Read on to learn about some of these events, resources and ideas to help you celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday!
Chickspeare Virtual Shakespeare
Before we tell you about all the events from Folger Shakespeare Library, we want you to know about Chickspeare, our very own all-female Shakespeare company here in Charlotte. They’ve been staging performances since 1998.
For Shakespeare’s birthday, they are presenting a truly one-of-a-kind event.
Starting at 9 a.m. on Thursday, April 23rd, six playwright/acting teams will be given a unique Shakespeare and craft beer inspired writing prompt.
They will each write, act and video a 10 minute play based on that prompt. By 9 a.m. Friday they will each submit a brand new, never before seen video production of their short play.
Throughout the day on Friday, April 24th, 2020, starting at noon, Chickspeare will be posting these plays on Facebook and Instagram, along with a sprinkling of special guest appearances, trivia and other fun surprises.
Virtual Shakespeare Birthday Events
All of these events take place Thursday, April 23rd, 2020. Most can be streamed on Folger Shakespeare Library’s Facebook page or YouTube channel, except for the Macbeth Watch Party, which is only on the Facebook page.
Why Do Fabulously Creative People Like Shakespeare
11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Internet pioneer Vint Cerf, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company Artistic Director Maria Manuela Goyanes, and celebrated international theater director Iqbal Khan join Folger Director Michael Witmore in a lively conversation on the intersections between creativity and Shakespeare—and why we need both of them now.
Home-Schooling at Shakespeare’s Table: The Meaning of Meals in “The Taming of the Shrew”
What does Shakespeare have to say to us about the importance of table-fellowship in a time of strain? Join David Goldstein, co-Director of Before ‘Farm to Table,’ our Mellon-funded collaborative research project, for this talk. In this virtual gathering, Goldstein will consider numerous ways in which Shakespeare considers food-sharing as an opportunity for teaching and learning about mental, physical, and social health.
In the Collection: Staxpeditions
Join Folger Librarian Greg Prickman and special guests as they explore digital libraries near and far to discover the fascinating and surprising materials they contain—based on your requests! A few days beforehand, we’ll share guiding questions and details on how to make those requests.
Whiteness Studies: A Primer for Understanding Shakespeare
The Folger Institute’s annual birthday lecture may be postponed, but our lecturer Ian Smith discusses the premise behind his topic: that race cannot be narrowed to an association with blackness. Rather, Smith calls for an understanding of whiteness as everywhere implied, but nowhere acknowledged. If it sparks self-scrutiny and personal accountability, such an understanding may make us more credible bearers of the twinned traditions of Shakespeare and humanism. Smith is the Richard H. and Joan K. Sell Chair in the Humanities at Lafayette College, Easton, PA. Kathleen Lynch, Executive Director of the Folger Institute, moderates the conversation.
Macbeth Watch Party
5–7:30pm (Facebook only)
“Something wicked this way comes.” Celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday with his shortest and bloodiest play, Macbeth. Join with the cast and creative team to watch the acclaimed Folger Theatre and Two River Theater production of Macbeth, co-directed by Teller and Aaron Posner. Members of the cast will share behind-the-scenes stories and take questions about the making of this supernatural production of the Scottish play.
Where to Stream Shakespeare Plays in April
The Folger Library has put together a list of ways to stream Shakespeare productions in April.
Included is a list of theater companies and festivals around the world that are making their Shakespeare performances available online. Many of these theaters are also offering workshops and other online content. If you can make a donation to one of them, it would be greatly appreciated.
A few of them:
- Alabama Shakespeare Festival
- American Shakespeare Center
- Atlanta Shakespeare Company
- Brooklyn Academy of Music
- Chicago Shakespeare Theater
- Commonwealth Shakespeare Company
- Folger Theatre and Two River Theatre
- Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival
- Nashville Shakespeare Festival
- The Old Globe
- Shakespeare Festival St. Louis
- National Theatre
- The Public Theater
- Royal Shakespeare Company
- Shakespeare’s Globe
- The Show Must Go Online
In addition, you can watch many Shakespeare productions, and movies based on Shakespeare plays, on many streaming platforms, including Netflix, Amazon, Disney and more. Follow the above link for information on what each streaming platform is offering.
More Ways to Celebrate Shakespeare’s Birthday at Home
Looking to make Shakespeare’s birthday a real celebration? The Folger Library is sharing tons of resources, including how to throw a Shakespeare party, write a sonnet, recreate a pose from a Shakespeare play and much more.Subscribe to Charlotte on the Cheap
More virtual eventsCheck out our big list of upcoming virtual events, or look at a few of them here: