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Britain, World Mark 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s Death

  • VOA News

Tourists watch actors perform at the house where William Shakespeare was born during celebrations to mark the 400th anniversary of the playwright's death in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England, April 23, 2016.

Tourists watch actors perform at the house where William Shakespeare was born during celebrations to mark the 400th anniversary of the playwright's death in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England, April 23, 2016.

Thousands of people from all walks of life and from around the world descended Saturday on the streets of Stratford-Upon-Avon, the hometown of William Shakespeare, on the 400th anniversary of his death.

Visitors, performers, literature buffs and notable people, including Prince Charles, gathered in the central English market town to pay tribute to one of the world’s most prominent playwrights. Shakespeare is regarded by many as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist.

A parade took place in Stratford to mark the anniversary. A band from the U.S. city of New Orleans performed a jazz rendition of "Happy Birthday" in honor of the British icon, as confetti flowed through the streets.

People take part in a procession during celebrations to mark the 400th anniversary of the William Shakespeare's death in the city of his birth, Stratford-Upon-Avon, England, April 23, 2016.

People take part in a procession during celebrations to mark the 400th anniversary of the William Shakespeare's death in the city of his birth, Stratford-Upon-Avon, England, April 23, 2016.

Actors Judi Dench, Helen Mirren, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ian McKellen were among stars scheduled to celebrate the anniversary with performances from Shakespeare's best-known works at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

The occasion was being marked across Britain with parades, church services and stage performances.

Thirty-seven short films, one of each of Shakespeare's plays, were shown on giant screens installed along the River Thames in London.

U.S. President Barack Obama attended a performance of scenes from Shakespeare's works, including the famous "To be or not to be?" from Hamlet, at the Globe Theatre, a reconstruction of a 16th-century part-open-air theater.

People hold up face masks with William Shakespeare's portrait during celebrations to mark the 400th anniversary of the playwright's death in the city of his birth, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Britain, April 23, 2016.

People hold up face masks with William Shakespeare's portrait during celebrations to mark the 400th anniversary of the playwright's death in the city of his birth, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Britain, April 23, 2016.

In Washington, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer was among those talking about Shakespeare during a program called “The Wonder of Will Live” at the Folger Shakespeare Library, which stands next to the Library of Congress.

Actors, artists and scholars, including actor and former White House official Kal Penn and NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan, also participated in the program.

Shakespeare was born in Stratford in April 1564. It is believed that he died there on April 23, 1616, but no record of his death exists.

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