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"Adieu, adieu": Shakespeare charity CEO to step down

Dr Diana Owen Credit: Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

The hunt will be on next year to find a replacement at the helm of one of the world's biggest Shakespeare-related charities. Dr Diana Owen, the current CEO of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-Upon-Avon has held the position for ten years. She's now announced she's stepping down from the role early next year.

"It has been a real privilege, and a fantastic pleasure, to be at the helm of the UK's first and oldest conservation charity, promoting the world's foremost playwright, to worldwide audiences today. After 10 years and the success of the 400th anniversary, I feel that the time is right, to hand on the baton and I look forward to seeing the inspiring plans for the future development of our charity come to fruition.”

– Dr Diana Owen
Shakespeare400 parade celebrations underway last year Credit: ITV News Central

“Diana has transformed the Trust into an inclusive, participative charity that puts Shakespeare and his home town of Stratford-upon-Avon on the world stage. She has achieved strong visitor and revenue growth, forged successful partnerships and created new opportunities for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to enjoy Shakespeare.

Her particular successes have included shepherding the Trust into the digital age by launching highly engaging digital campaigns and platforms; Shakespeare Week, our annual celebration for primary school children; and the highly praised development of New Place, which opened in 2016 marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death.

It has been a real pleasure to work with Diana and we wish her great happiness and success in the future.”

– Peter Kyle, Chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
  1. Melissa Wright

Thousands celebrate Shakespeare's 453rd birthday

Thousands celebrate Shakespeare's 453rd birthday Credit: ITV News Central

Thousands of people gathered on the streets of Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire today to celebrate the 453rd birthday of William Shakespeare.

There was a festive parade through the streets of the playwright's birthplace and celebrations across the town, as Melissa Wright reports.

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Free visits to Shakespeare homes for disabled visitors

William Shakespeare's birthplace in Stratford-upon- Avon Credit: PA

People with access needs can visit the Shakespeare family homes in Stratford-upon-Avon for free this weekend, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has announced.

It marks the weekend of Disabled Access Day, designed to raise awareness about the access needs of people with disabilities.

Sites involved in the initiative include:

  • Shakespeare's birthplace
  • Shakespeare's New Place
  • Anne Hathaway's Cottage
  • Hall's Croft

The ‘best bits’ of Romeo and Juliet come to Birmingham

The bard's Romeo and Juliet comes to the Library of Birmingham later this month Credit: Oddsocks Productions

Families are being urged to introduce their children to the ‘best bits’ of Shakespeare during half term. It comes as a regional tour of the bard's Romeo and Juliet comes to the Library of Birmingham later this month.

The 90-minute comedy adaptation aims to introduce younger audiences to Shakespeare in a fun way, whilst also encouraging adults to revisit his works with a fresh eye.

The tour is part of the national Shakespeare 2016 campaign Credit: Oddsocks Productions

The tour by Oddsocks Theatre Company will be launched at the Library of Birmingham on 22 October. The production will then visit 11 other libraries across the region during the half term holiday.

The tour is part of the national Shakespeare 2016 campaign which marks the 400th anniversary of the playwright's death.

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Shakespeare First Folio on display for 400th anniversary of his death

Credit: The Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick

As part of a three month festival celebrating the legacy of William Shakespeare, people can see the first copy of his work at the Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick, today. It dates from 1623.

Alongside it will be a first edition of the King James Bible (1611), on loan from Cambridge University.

The exhibition runs until the end of June.

Credit: The Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick

Orchestra to celebrate Shakespeare anniversary

William Shakespeare Credit: PA

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra will be marking the 400th anniversary of the death of playwright and writer William Shakespeare next year, with a series of concerts inspired by the man himself.

The orchestra and ensembles will perform music spanning four centuries inspired by the Warwickshire-born writer's plays.

Events are being planned around the world next year to mark the special anniversary.

The CBSO's performances begin with Henry V in January.

“Shakespeare is in the lifeblood of the Midlands, it is where he grew up and where he is buried. We....are thrilled to be celebrating his life with ‘Our Shakespeare’, which we believe is the world’s largest scale concert series celebrating the music inspired by the playwright’s work.

We look forward to sharing those musical events with our audiences across the Midlands.

– Stephen Maddock, CBSO Chief Executive

These concerts are being held in partnership with a whole host of other arts organisations in the Midlands. They include the Birmingham Royal Ballet, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Library of Birmingham, Ex Cathedra, Barber Institute, Shakespeare Institute and University of Birmingham.

Click here to find out 20 common phrases invented by the Bard.

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