Events 250 years after Stratford-upon-Avon Shakespeare festival

Written by on July 13, 2019

Events are being held to mark 250 years since a Shakespeare festival “put Stratford-upon-Avon on the map”.

The festival was set up by prominent actor David Garrick, who brought the great and good of 18th Century society to the playwright’s home town, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust said.

The Jubilee from 6 September 1769 “established the Shakespeare tourism industry in Stratford”, it added.

This week people can contribute to an art project for the anniversary.

A discussion by a panel of experts on “Garrick’s influence on both Stratford-upon-Avon and our ongoing fascination with Shakespeare” will also take place at The Shakespeare Centre on 10 August.

It was said Garrick stayed in Shakespeare’s birthplace and the Staffordshire thespian “hung a banner out of the window saying ‘This is the birth room of William Shakespeare’,” the trust said.

The Hereford-born actor had “an awful lot to do with making him popular with the masses”, the trust’s Rosalyn Sklar said.

She stated: “He knew what people enjoyed and actually this angered some of the more academic elites.

“There was some criticism of Garrick that he was creating pageantry out of Shakespeare, this idea of dumbing down Shakespeare I suppose.

“But Garrick knew that people would enjoy the pageantry, the songs, the music, the celebration.”

The man who had the Lichfield Garrick theatre named after him “sort of ushered in a new style of acting”, very expressive, letting “emotions very fluidly ripple across his face”, she added.

The museum collections officer also said he had a “mobile wig made that stood on end when he performed Hamlet”.

On the same dates the festival ran, 6 to 8 September, two pairs of giant binoculars will appear on Henley Street and the Bancroft Gardens.

Animations showing how people imagine the town in 100 years’ time will play inside the binoculars and be layered over real-time footage of Stratford.

The first of two workshops for residents’ ideas for the binoculars art project will be held at 11:00 BST on Tuesday at Tyler House, Tyler Street.

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