Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary – level 3
There was a real carnivalesque atmosphere in Stratford-upon-Avon, the home of William Shakespeare, as thousands took to the streets to honour England’s most famous playwright on the 400th anniversary of his death. The procession saw participants dressed as Shakespearean characters while carrying a floral tribute through the town, as crowds, many wearing masks of the bard’s face, watched on, waved flags and threw rosemary branches to create a walkway of remembrance.
“Hip hip! Hurray! Hip hip! Hurray! Hip hip hip! Hurray!”
A jazz band from New Orleans gave what’s known as a “New Orleans funeral”, and a rendition of happy birthday for the British icon, who was born on 23rd April, 1564, and died on exactly the same day in 1616.
Gerald French flew over to play drums, and spoke of Shakespeare’s global impact:
“I was forced to read aloud a lot of his work in school, some of it I understood, some of it, I didn’t. But a very prolific writer. Yes.”
Madam Mayor of Stratford-upon-Avon, Tessa Bates, reflected on what Shakespeare’s hometown must have meant to him:
“Well, it must have influenced him because I think his stories and plays are about his life and people he knows, so everything around him must have influenced him.”
“Oh, definitely Stratford! I mean, how could it not? It’s the most beautiful place to have grown up, isn’t it?”
Difficult words: carnivalesque (like a carnival; exciting, happy, fun), tribute (something that shows respect), bard (a poet), remembrance (the action of remembering something), rendition (a performance), prolific (producing many works), influence (to change).
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