Thursday, April 23 is William’s Shakespeare’s birthday and to celebrate, theatres and other fans of the Bard around the world are finding ways to stage a virtual party. You can join in the fun, from reading aloud a favorite passage or writing your own sonnet. Plus, you’ll find plenty of filmed performances and movies of Shakespeare’s famous (and not-so-famous) plays to view. Remember that many of these theatres are shuttered right now, so if you like what you see, maybe make a donation.
Here are some ways to birthday with the Bard
Folger Shakespeare Library
- 9 a.m. — Why Do Fabulously Creative People Like Shakespeare?
- 10:30 a.m. — Home-Schooling at Shakespeare’s Table: The Meaning of Meals in “The Taming of the Shrew”
- noon — In the Collection: Staxpeditions
- 1:30 p.m. — Whiteness Studies: A Primer for Understanding Shakespeare
- 3 p.m. — Macbeth Watch Party (Facebook only)
American Shakespeare Center
Watch full productions on the theater’s BlkFrs TV. Pay $10 for a virtual ticket to support the ASC and a relief fund for the company’s employees. The ASC’s Actors’ Renaissance Season—featuring Much Ado About Nothing, Henry IV Part 1, Henry IV Part 2, and A King and No King—is online.
Folger Theatre and Two River Theatre
Watch their 2008 co-production of Macbeth on YouTube. Co-conceived and directed by Teller, of Penn and Teller, and Aaron Posner, it’s a bloody magical performance. (Free through July 1.)
Nashville Shakespeare Festival
Hosts the The Bard’s Online Birthday Bash on Thursday, April 23 at 6 p.m. on Facebook. Includes scenes, songs, and on an online, edited version of the Biggest Balcony Scene Ever! Watch an encore of a livestream of The Comedy of Errors on Thursday, April 30 at 6 p.m.
Britain’s National Theatre is streaming a performance film every Thursday at 1 p.m. MST. Productions are available for free on YouTube for seven days. This week, watch Treasure Island. Twelfth Night hits YouTube on Thursday, April 23.
The Public Theater
Watch their 2019 Shakespeare in the Park production of Much Ado About Nothing for free, from THIRTEEN Public Media. You can also join their Brave New Shakespeare Challenge, watch playwright Susan Lori-Parks at work, and more.
Hosts free livestream readings of selected classical plays. They partner with local artists and community members to perform rather rough, but never boring, readings for fans. On Saturday, April 25 at 8:30 p.m. watch a full 90-minute read of Romeo and Juliet. featuring 2019-20 Seattle Shakespeare touring company members.
Every other Monday, the Globe will bring one of its past productions to YouTube for free. Watch a live YouTube premiere, then stream the film for the next two weeks. Through May 3, watch Romeo and Juliet. The Winter’s Tale premieres on May 18., followed by The Merry Wives of Windsor and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
This Canadian company broadcasts a virtual film festival of 12 of its finest Shakespeare productions from April 23 through July 30, with a new play added weekly on Thursday.