John Kani, South Africa's leading classical actor, receives the Pragnell Prize 2021

With Stratford's usual procession, performances and speech-giving lunch again cancelled this year due to quarantine restrictions, Shakespeare's birthday celebrations on 23 April migrated online.

As always, a distinguished Shakespearean, selected by representatives from the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the university's Shakespeare Institute, was awarded the Pragnell Prize, even if the presenter  - Professor Michael Dobson - and the recipient - the great South African actor John Kani - were not in the same room and were unable to drink the customary toasts. John Kani, who lost one eye when beaten up by white police officers in the days of apartheid, is recognized as South Africa's leading classical actor. As well as performing in Shakespeare and in stage works by Athol Fugard and others, he is a major film actor, whose screen credits include Black Panther.

Learn more about his career from our presentation ceremony video.