Shakespeare Institute event launches Shakespeare's 400th anniversary with a revival of the original Ode to Shakespeare and a new tribute from the Poet Laureate.

Scholars from the University of Birmingham’s Shakespeare Institute in partnership with Ex Cathedra Choir and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust commissioned this project in which actor Sam West and Ex Cathedra Choir perform David Garrick’s Shakespeare Ode, written for the original Shakespeare jubilee, in Holy Trinity church where Shakespeare is buried. 

It was Garrick’s performance in 1769 which put Stratford on the map and established Shakespeare as the world-renowned playwright we recognise today. The second part of this important commission is A Shakespeare Masque, a contemporary tribute to Shakespeare by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, set to music by the composer Sally Beamish. Children from local primary schools are performing alongside Ex Cathedra’s Youth Choir and The City Musick, and the score will be available in an adapted version for piano and recorder, enabling schools across the country to perform their own concert for the 400th and beyond.

The event will be broadcast live around the world via video link on www.bbc.co.uk/Shakespearelives on Friday 22nd April at 19.30 BST and in audio live on BBC Radio 3 as part of the BBC Shakespeare Festival.

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

There will be further performances of the Ode to Shakespeare and A Shakespeare Masque featuring different performers in Birmingham, London, Hereford, Southwell and Wolverhampton.

For tickets to future performances visit Ex Cathedra http://excathedra.co.uk/diary/

Schools interested in performing their own schools’ version please email Claude Fretz on c.fretz@bham.ac.uk