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The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) is offering visitors to Stratford-upon-Avon a range of free activities to help celebrate Shakespeare’s Birthday on Saturday 22 April.  

Reopening for the first time in three years will be the RSC's permanent exhibition, The Play’s the Thing which has been co-curated with local community groups. Participants took part in workshops at the RSC Collection to select the items on display, including costumes worn by Judi Dench, Laurence Olivier and Kenneth Branagh. The Play’s The Thing will also connect with a new community engagement project, ثلاثة خيوط ذهبية  / Three Gold Threads.  

Free family friendly activity will continue in the Swan Theatre Gardens between 12-1.30pm and 2.30-4.30pm with performances of TOAST by Pif-Paf Theatre, an energetic, ambitious, and communal celebration of food, song, story, dance and fire with storytelling from Ian Douglas. Visitors will also be invited to explore the new RSC Sensory Map which will encourage visitors to find out more about the heritage of the RSC’s buildings using their senses. 

There will also be the chance to see the premiere of RSC Artistic Director Emeritus Gregory Doran’s new staging of William Shakespeare’s dark fairytale Cymbeline (7.15 pm) in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Cymbeline will mark Doran’s 50th production for the RSC. RSC Acting Artistic Director Erica Whyman’s production of Hamnet (7.30 pm) will also be showing in the newly reopened Swan Theatre.  

Celebrations continue with Pragnell’s annual Shakespeare Birthday Lunch, hosted by Alexander Armstrong. This year the RSC and Pragnell have partnered together for an exclusive showcase performed during the lunch and directed by Roberta Zuric­. This will be followed by the presentation of the annual Pragnell Shakespeare Birthday Award. The award celebrates individuals who have significantly furthered society’s understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of the Shakespeare’s work and this year’s winner is RSC Artistic Director Emeritus Gregory Doran.   

Prior to the Birthday Weekend, on Thursday 20 April, My Shakespeare: A Director’s Journey through the First Folio by Gregory Doran will be published.