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10 ways to celebrate Shakespeare’s 449th birthday

Posted at 10:00 am, April 23, 2013 in Fun London

Today is the Bard’s 449th Birthday which is basically the same as being 29, where you feel like you should do something low key and save epic celebrations for the big one next year. Along with Michael Moore and Taio Cruz, Shakespeare will be blowing out candles and getting the Birthday bumps. Here are some ways you can help celebrate: Jude Brosnan

1. See a play

There’s a lot of Shakespeare on at the moment including Macbeth at Trafalgar Studios, Othello at the National Theatre and The Globe are opening their season today with The Tempest. See our Time Out guide to Shakespeare plays in London.

2. Visit the Globe

If you can’t get tickets to The Tempest, you can go to Shakepeare’s Globe and check out the exhibition and tour for a truely Elizabethan experience.

3. Have a drink

There are a fair few pubs named in homage to Shakespeare so why not do a crawl? Start at the Shakespeare’s Head on Carnaby Street. You can’t miss it, it has a creepy-looking Bard poking his head out of the window.

4. Look at this tube map

We love an alternative tube map. This Greater Shakespeare map charts how Shakespeare’s characters are linked by personality trait in the style of a tube map. The Victoria line becomes the Villain line. Buy it in many forms from the RSC shop here.

5. Read up

You’d be hard pushed to read everything by Shakespeare today, but you could try and do it in a year so you’ll be a pro by his 450th. Foyles has a selection of publications including his complete works. They also do study guides if you need a little help. For info, see foyles.co.uk/shakespeare.

6. Look at his bust

The V&A have a bust of the Bard. Hunt him down, he’s hanging out with John Milton and Issac Newton.

7. Shakespeare Road

If you are a fan of street names and like finding themed ones, head to this one in Brixton. Extra points for finding number 2b.

8. See his Statue in Leicester Square

He’s been having work done as part of the £15.5 million renovation to Leicester Square but there he is slap bang in the middle of the park surrounded by aquatic creatures.

9. See what he really looked like

This painting in the National Portrait Gallery (Room 4) claims to be the only one painted from life. Shakespeare actually sat for the artist John Taylor after debating what earring to wear.

10. Merch up

Until 1993 Shakespeare was on the £20 note. There are so many Shakespeare related things you can spend your £20s on including rubber ducks, clothes, cookery books, mugs, the list goes on. The RSA has a great shop as does the Globe and the British Library that sells our favourite item, this Shakespeare iPhone case.

Happy Birthday Bill! Pick up today’s magazine for a special theatre issue.

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