Brush up your Shakespeare

Launch of the Shakespeare festival at Blackpool Town Hall.  Cllr David Owen.
Launch of the Shakespeare festival at Blackpool Town Hall. Cllr David Owen.
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Gadzooks. It will be a noble occasion, and one that will involve all the hoi polloi and gentry from around Blackpool when the Fylde Coast’s 2014 Shakespeare festival takes place later this month.

There are a bundle of events scheduled to celebrate the life and work of the world’s most famous playwright, a man who lived only 52 years, but was a prolific writer – knocking out 38 plays and 154 sonnets.

The festival is the brainchild of Coun David Owen, Deputy Mayor of Blackpool, and has proven hugely popular, attracting applicants of all ages from across the Fylde coast.

Coun Owen asked people to come forward to perform one of Shakespeare’s plays or sonnets to celebrate the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth (April 26, 1564).

And groups have flocked to take part, with a huge programme featuring everything from a puppet performance of A Comedy of Errors to The Merchant of Venice now in place.

Coun Owen said: “I’m very pleased with the response we’ve had, and the programme we have in place.

“There are a large number of organisations taking part at locations up and down the Fylde coast.

“It is a wonderful chance for people to learn more about Shakespeare, to celebrate his work and to have some fun with friends and colleagues.

“I hope people will go along to watch some of the performances and really get into the spirit of things.”

One of the biggest events takes place in the Baronial Hall in the Winter Gardens on April 30, when guests are encouraged to dress as courtiers, kings and servants, and the entertainment will be strictly Elizabethan – a jester and juggler.

There will be a medieval banquet, and each table is invited to read a short sonnet or deliver a Shakespearian verse.

Radio presenter and comedian Steve Royle will act as compere. Tickets, priced £22, are available now from 01253 318948 or info@wintergardenstrust.org.uk

As well as that, various groups and business around the town are involved, and there are also events at schools and colleges.

Even councillors are doing their bit, performing Richard III in the council chamber. Should be interesting.

The festival runs from April 23–26, with the Baronial Hall event on April 30.

For more informationand a programme of all the performances, head to http://shakespearefestival.wordpress.com, or pick up a copy of the programme at your nearest library.