400 YEARS AGO — The father of English literature, William Shakespeare, died on April 23, 1616, at exactly age 52. He was baptized on April 26, 1564; and, because his actual date of birth was unclear, the world assumed he was born three days before his infant baptism.
Every year, artistes the world over mark Shakespeare’s birthday on April 23. Today, on the 400th anniversary of his passage, London is remembering the sage in a special way. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron will also pay special tribute to the legend.
There will be stage performances of most of his plays including Macbeth, King Lear, Othello, Merchant of Venice, and Romeo and Juliet.
Visiting US president Obama began his final day in London by touring a theatre dedicated to the work of William Shakespeare. The Globe theatre is a replica of the circular, open-air playhouse that Shakespeare designed in 1599.
Mr Obama watched a brief performance of a portion of Hamlet, including the famous “To be or not to be” soliloquy.
The scenes were performed by actors from a company of 16, who embarked on a two-year world tour in 2014 playing to more than 100,000 people in 197 countries.
Obama described the performance as “wonderful”.
As the US president toured the open-air theatre, he spent several minutes looking at the structure and asking questions about the seating and performances.
Throughout the day on Saturday, Shakespeare’s Globe will be screening short films of every one of Shakespeare’s 37 plays on giant screens along the banks of the Thames, between Tower Bridge and Westminster.
The films feature actors delivering their lines in the locations where the plays are set – such as Cleopatra in Egypt, Julius Caesar in the Roman Forum and Hamlet at Elsinore.
David Tennant will host a BBC celebration on Saturday night live from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. The event will be attended by Prince Charles and his wife.