Shakespeare exhibitions and plays 2016

Shakespeare died 400 years ago this year, and there are an incredible range of cultural dates for your diary, from exhibitions to theatre all over the country

Celebrate this year’s Shakespeare anniversary by indulging in some culture


Until April 29
‘Rounded with a sleep’, an exhibition commemorating the 400th anniversary of the deaths of Shakespeare and Cervantes, Includes an early edition of Hamlet. Daniel Crouch Rare Books, 4, Bury Street, London SW1 (020–7042 0240;

Until January 2017
‘Shakespeare in the Royal Library’, Windsor Castle, Windsor, Berkshire. Drawing on material in the Royal Library, it includes works collected by the Royal Family, accounts of performances at Windsor Castle and art by members of the Royal Family (; 020–7766 7304)

Until May 29
‘By Me William Shakespeare: A Life in Writing’, Somerset House, London WC2. Documents about the world’s most famous playwright, including his will (020–7845 4600;

Recommended videos for you

Until June 19
‘Shakespeare in Art: Tempests, Tyrants and Tragedy’, Compton Verney, Warwickshire. Explores how artists were motivated and inspired by Shakespeare’s pivotal plays (01926 645500; www.comptonverney.


Until September 6
‘Shakespeare in Ten Acts’, British Library, 96, Euston Road, London NW1. Explores 10 key performances, such as Sarah Bernhardt as Hamlet and Vivien Leigh as Lady Macbeth. This exhibition also features a copy of the May 2015 edition of COUNTRY LIFE which exclusively revealed the true face of Shakespeare, found in a botany book from the 17th century. A programme of concurrent events includes Country Life’s theatre critic Michael Billington in conversation with Glenda Jackson (01937 546546;

Until October 8
‘The Cloud- Capped Towers: Shakespeare in Soane’s Architectural Imagination’, Sir John Soane’s Museum, 13, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2. A rare chance to see Soane’s copies of the first four folios and loans from the Garrick Club (020–7405 2107;

April 22–May 1
Toneelgroep Amsterdam’s Kings of War, Barbican, London EC2. Henry V, Henry VI and Richard III become modern-day political leaders in this adaptation by Olivier Award-winning director Ivo van Hove (020–7638 8891;

Until April 29
Henry V, Antic Disposition UK cathedral tour, including Salisbury, Gloucester and Worcester. The theatre company presents its adaptation of Henry V, concluding in Holy Trinity, Stratfordupon- Avon (; 020–7284 0760)

Until May 7
The Herbal Bed, English Touring Theatre, various venues. Peter Whelan’s play explores  the true events in Stratford in the summer of 1613 when Shakespeare’s daughter was publicly accused of adultery (020–7450 1990; www.ett.

May 17–21
A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation, RSC in association with Tower Theatre Company, Barbican. Part of a nationwide tour in which professional actors team with amateur companies (as above)

June 17–July 9
Henry V, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, London NW1. Donmar Warehouse Associate Director Robert Hastie directs actress Michelle Terry in the title role in a glorious outdoor setting (0844 826 4242;

July 13
Much Ado About  Nothing, Tattershall Castle, Lincolnshire. Bring a picnic and enjoy a performance by the Lord Chamberlain’s Men with the castle as a backdrop (www.nationaltrust.; 01526 342543)

July 27–August 12
The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Brownsea Open Air Theatre, Brownsea Island, Dorset. Arriving by ferry, guests can experience the comedy in the beautiful surroundings of the National Trust’s Brownsea Island (01202 251987;


April 23
Anniversary Gala concert, Royal Festival Hall, London SE1. The London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO) performs music influenced by the playwright’s work, interspersed with readings, directed by Simon Callow (020–7960 4200;

April 30
Shakespeare400 Finale Royal Festival Hall. The Royal College of Music Big Band performs Duke Ellington’s Such Sweet Thunder (020–7960 4200;

May 7
Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Southwark Cathedral, London SE1. The London Concertante plays works by Vivaldi, Mozart and Bach, Purcell’s Fairy Queen Suite, composed for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and pieces by Walton for Henry V (

June 5
Bottom’s Dream,  Royal Festival Hall. Presented by the LPO and Globe Education, this familyconcert takes its audience to the woodlands of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (020–7960 4200;

Talks and tours

April 22
Intercultural Shakespeare Performance, Shakespeare’s Globe, London SE1. Celebrating the diversity of performances, adaptations and translations from around the world (020–7401 9919;

April 23
‘Find Me a Publisher’, Southwark Cathedral, London SE1. Comedian Arthur Smith reveals the truth about Shakespeare’s first publishers (; 020–7367 6700)

April 23
‘Late at the Library’, The British Library, 96, Euston Road, London NW1. A night of festivities hosted by actor Ben Crystal (01937 546546;

April 25
‘Shakespearean Performance in Modern London’, The Rose Playhouse, 56, Park Street, London SE1. Presentations by directors about recent productions and how they are relevant to life in modern London (020–7261 9565; www.

April 28
‘The Curtain and Crime: Rogues and Villains of Elizabethan Theatre,’ The Stage, Hewett Street, Shoreditch, London EC2. Walking tour around the Curtain Theatre (020–7410 2200;

May 3
‘Shakespeare in 1916: The First World War and the Origins of Global Shakespeare’, Senate House Library, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1. Prof Gordon McMullan on the intersection of the Shakespeare Tercentenary and the First World War (; 020–7862 8500)

May 25
‘Shakespeare in London’ with Prof Stanley Wells, St Botolph’s Hall, Bishopsgate,
London EC2. The professional and personal links with the capital that the Bard made (020–7410 2200;

Until June 24
‘Shakespeare’s Southwark’, guided walk starting at Southwark Cathedral, London SE1. Tickets from or the cathedral shop

Until August 6
Shakespeare’s London guided walk, 150, London Wall, London EC2. Tours from the Bard’s Silver Street home through streets that inspired him (; 020–7001

** Read how Country Life discovered the true face of Shakspeare last year