The Shakespeare birthday celebration parade

Fellows, honorary fellows and students of the university’s Shakespeare Institute have been centre stage around the world during the rash of conferences, ceremonies, processions and theatre festivals that have marked the playwright’s 450th birthday.

In Stratford the customary ballot-chosen delegation of students carried flowers in this year’s extra-large procession to Shakespeare’s grave, wielding a new banner designed to advertise the supremacy of the Institute to as many news cameras as possible.

Elsewhere, deputy director John Jowett gave a paper at the University of Melbourne; fellows Ewan Fernie and Abigail Rokison presented work at the Shakespeare Association of America conference in St Louis (and Dr Rokison gave a verse-speaking workshop at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre  en route for good measure); fellow Erin Sullivan, deputy director John Jowett and director Michael Dobson appeared at the Societé Française Shakespeare’s ‘Shakespeare450’ conference in Paris; Ewan Fernie gave a plenary at the rival 150th anniversary conference of the Deutsche Shakespeare Gesellschaft in Weimar, where he was joined by Michael Dobson, who conducted a public interview with honorary fellow Sir Kenneth Branagh on the occasion of his being made Honorary President; Michael Dobson co-led a seminar, gave a plenary, met the Romanian prime minister and received an honorary doctorate during the Festivalul International Shakespeare at Craiova, Romania; and Michael Dobson then gave this year’s Abbey Theatre / University College Dublin Shakespeare Lecture in Dublin. What with the April 23rd launch of fellow Chris Laoutaris’s book Shakespeare and the Countess, spring 2014 has seen the Institute and its staff emblazoned across an unprecedented selection of the world’s media, including The Times Literary Supplement , BBC 24 World News, The Shanghai Review of Books, BBC Radio3, CNN television news, The Observer , several television channels in Germany and Romania , Voice of Russia, and the Stratford Herald.

A transcript of the podcast is also available