Wednesday, May 03, 2006


The Complete Works Festival was officially launched at Stratford over the weekend of April 22nd-23rd; the Sunday was Shakespeare's 442nd birthday. There was the usual slightly dotty and hugely enjoyable procession to Holy Trinity, preceded by the [ancient, some say] ceremony of raising the flags in the middle of the town. Janet Suzman and I , aided by a Boy Scout who knew which toggle was which, were in charge of Shakespeare, and hoisted him without incident. The Bevin Boys unfurled Love's Labour's Lost, lots of foreign ambassadors and High Commissioners raised their flags, and then off we marched to lay our wreaths on WS' tomb. As you will see from the photograph, Michael Boyd and I adopted the Hawaiian method for the arduous carry.

There were many wonderful events over the 2 days. Lectures [Marina Warner on Hamlet], seminars [Patrick Stewart and John Barton on the sonnets], sermons [the Archbishop of Canterbury comparing poetry and prophesy], recitals [ sonnets on the Avon ferry], conversations [Janet Suzman and Harriet Walter on Playing Cleopatra], and an opportunity for children to raid the costume cupboard or acquire horrendous facial scars via the RSC's make-up department. An RSC party with fireworks in the evening. And "soda-water the day after."


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