THIS year is Shakespeare’s 455th birthday, in case you'd forgotten, and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has planned a special programme of celebrations in honour of Stratford’s most famous son and the world’s greatest playwright.

On offer will be "a vibrant mix of entertainment and performance".

A spokesman said: "The free, family-friendly programme will run all day in Henley Street, right in front of the very house where Shakespeare was born.

"On Saturday, April 27, Henley Street will come alive with an exciting line-up of pageantry and performance. Kicking-off this year’s celebrations at 9.30am will be traditional country dancing by local school children. The birthday parade will arrive at Shakespeare’s Birthplace at around 10.30am, where ‘Mr Shakespeare’ will call in to collect the ceremonial laurel wreath and lead the parade down Henley Street."

The spokesman added: "The party atmosphere continues throughout the afternoon with a series of dance performances by local community groups showcasing dance styles through the ages, from traditional to contemporary. Enjoy watching the actors from Shakespeare Aloud! as they perform fight scenes from some of Shakespeare’s most famous plays."

The gates to Hall’s Croft garden will reopen for the annual Knights and Nymphs children’s party.

The spokesman said: "Popular with families, there’s plenty of fun to be had with a dressing up box, face painting, garden games and delicious treats including a barbecue and fizz for the grown-ups. Entrance to the garden is free.

"The Shakespeare Birthday Lecture takes place at the Shakespeare Institute on Friday, April 26 April at 4pm, featuring special guest speaker and this year’s Pragnell Shakespeare Award recipient, Professor Jerzy Limon O.B.E., founder and artistic director of the Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre in Poland, in conversation with Professor Michael Dobson, Director of the Shakespeare Institute.

Tickets for this are available at: or by calling 01789 339804.