William Shakespeare turns 450

One of the UK's greatest cultural icons, William Shakespeare, will be commemorated up and down the country as part of the 450th anniversary of his birth. The prolific playwright was baptised three days after his birth, on 26 April 1564.

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Reduced Shakespeare at great heights

The Reduced Shakespeare Company attempt a record-breaking performance Credit: PA Images

The Reduced Shakespeare Company is thought to have set a new world record after its actors performed an abridged version of the playwright's works at more than 37,000ft.

Actors Simon Cole, 38, Gary Fannin, 45, and William Meredith, 40, began with a 12-minute performance of Romeo and Juliet.

They then charged up and down the length of the plane for the next hour, performing Shakespeare's comedies and tragedies, including Titus Andronicus, Othello, Macbeth, Julius Caesar and Hamlet.

The Bard's plays were performed under the title Shakes on a Plane on a flight from Gatwick to Verona in celebration of the 450th anniversary of his birth.

The troupe is believed to have set a Guinness World Record for the highest theatrical performance, the attempt should be verified within a week.


Celebrations to begin for Shakespeare's 450th birthday

William Shakespeare, one of Britain's literary icons, turns 450 today.

The Bard was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon and the Warwickshire town will be laying on bigger celebrations than usual to commemorate the 450 years since his birth.

William Shakespeare was working between 1589 and 1613, three years before his death. Credit: PA

There will be a giant horse-drawn birthday cake, fireworks, a fancy-dress parade and a procession led by the pupils of his old school to lay flowers on his grave at Holy Trinity church.

The playwright, poet and actor wrote some of the best known plays in the English language, including Romeo and Juliet, Richard III and Hamlet.

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