Shakespeare’s Birthday Celebration Parade 2018

Shakespeare’s Birthday Celebrations 2018 organised by Shakespeare’s Celebrations, the initiative jointly led by Stratford-upon-Avon Town Council and Stratford-on-Avon District Council, will include many of the traditional features we have come to love and cherish since the first Celebrations in 1824.

All the usual participants will be there, among them civic dignitaries, VIPs and invited guests from the worlds of literature and theatre, students of Shakespeare’s school and characters in period dress, marching bands and local schoolchildren making their way through the streets towards Holy Trinity Church.

Here is the latest brief guide to what happens:

  • MUSTER OF GUESTS AND PARTICIPANTS. Primary school children, staff and students of King Edward VI School led by the Head Boy, invited diplomats, civic dignitaries and guests of the Town and District Councils follow the traditional route to take up their positions for the main ceremonies in Bridge Street.
  • BIRTHDAY COMMEMORATION. The traditional placing of the commemorative wreath is followed by the unfurling of the Big Birthday Banner and the Unfurling of Flags along Bridge Street, High Street and Henley Street. The Beadle and Town Criers from neighbouring towns call for ‘Three Cheers for William Shakespeare’ as cannon streamers shower the crowds.
  • NEW FOR 2018: COMMUNITY CARNIVAL PARADE. Walking tableaus based on a literary theme. To register your interest please fill in the Expressions of Interest Form and send to

    To apply for a grant for the Community Carnival Parade please fill in this form and return to Stratford Town Trust.

  • PARADE TO HOLY TRINITY CHURCH.  Accompanied by the ATC Band, Coventry Corps of Drums and the West Midlands Fire Service Band, the procession makes its way to Holy Trinity Church where participants and public can bring their floral tributes to Shakespeare’s grave.

Once the Procession is over there are community festivities and street entertainment taking place across town throughout the day, organised by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and others.  The annual Birthday Lunch starts directly after the Parade and is a ticketed event, held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Ticket details can be found here.

If you are planning on driving to the Celebrations, vehicle access to the town centre is restricted between 8:00am and 12.30pm to accommodate the Parade and Celebrations. Details of road closures will be available in due course from Stratford-on-Avon District Council.

This website will be updated regularly with more information and programme details for 2018.