The Coming Delight For Shakespeare Aficionados

Internationally renowned actor Sam West with bust of William Shakespeare ( Pix: Adam Scott)

The University of Birmingham is helping Shakespeare aficionados around the globe to mark the 400th anniversary of his death with an online performance of an historic ode starring renowned British actor Sam West.

Working in partnership with Ex Cathedra Choir and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, scholars from the university have commissioned a revival of David Garrick’s historic 1769 Shakespeare Ode performed in the church where the Bard is buried.

The second part of the commission will witness Ex Cathedra unveil a contemporary tribute to Shakespeare by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, set to music by the composer Sally Beamish.

The event is expected to attract a massive global audience as it is broadcast live via video link globally on the BBC Shakespeare Lives 2016 online portal- and in audio live on BBC Radio 3 – as part of the BBC Shakespeare Festival.

It marks the start of the weekend anniversary celebrations and takes place on Friday, April 22 at Holy Trinity Church, in Stratford-upon-Avon, where Shakespeare is buried and was also baptised.

University of Birmingham scholars Professor Michael Dobson and Professor Ewan Fernie will discuss with BBC Radio 3 presenter Suzy Klein how Stratford, Britain and the world have fallen in love with the Bard since 1769.

Professor Ewan Fernie, Chair of Shakespeare Studies at the Shakespeare Institute, said, “We decided to mark Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary with a revival of the Garrick Ode, which taps back into and refreshes its originally progressive spirit. We want to share Shakespeare as widely as possible. The Shakespeare we want to share is a living force: a tradition turned towards the present and future, one which bridges the distances between Shakespeare’s England, 1769 and 2016.”