2019 Programme

2019 Birthday Parade

Shakespeare’s Birthday Parade is an event that everyone can enjoy as it winds its way through the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon. It passes buildings and places that were part of his life and ends where he was finally laid to rest, in Holy Trinity Church, on the banks of the river Avon.

The 2019 Celebrations Parade Route will start from Chapel Lane and make its way along Waterside and up Bridge Street to the flag stations. Following the flag unfurling, the parade will move off along High Street, Chapel Street, Church Street and Old Town to end at Holy Trinity Church.

Shakespeare Birthday CelebrationsProcession & Flag Unfurling Ceremony

 Saturday 27 April 2019

  • West Midlands Fire Service Band (WMFS Band) entertains assembling crowds at the top of Bridge Street and will return to the bottom of Chapel Lane to lead the procession;
  • The town’s primary school children gather in Waterside from 10:00am onwards, and led by the Air Training Corps Band (ATC), move off at 10:30am to assume their position in upper Bridge Street. The ATC Band will then fall out into head of High Street;
  • Drummers from the Coventry Corp of Drums will lead Civic Dignitaries, Diplomats, and other invited guests in procession from the Town Hall to the Birthplace.  Parade route:  High Street, Bell Court, Wood Street, Cooks Alley, Henley Street;
  • The WMFS Band will lead Parade participants in procession from Chapel Lane.  Parade route: Waterside, Bridge Street;
  • Dignitaries and Diplomats, led by the Lord Lieutenant arrive at the Birthplace.  Shakespearean characters welcome the parade.  ‘Mr Shakespeare’ leaves the house and ceremoniously hands the Lord Lieutenant the Laurel Wreath.  The drummers will then disband.  Shakespeare then leads the parade down Henley Street to Bridge Street.
  • The Parade participants arrive in Bridge Street from Chapel Lane and move into position to their flag station.
  • The Dignitaries and Diplomats, led by Mr Shakespeare, arrive in Bridge Street to a tumultuous fanfare and move into position to their flag station.
  • The Lord Lieutenant places the wreath below the bust of Shakespeare, situated in front of the dais.  Thereafter, a drumroll will be performed by the WMFS Band and Tony Bird OBE and young achievers of the year, Ollie Cresswell and Louis Byng, will unfurl the Big Birthday Banner.
  • Following the unfurling of the Union Flag by the Lord Lieutenant, all flags will then be unfurled simultaneously thereafter.  The National Anthem will immediately follow;
  • Mr Shakespeare is escorted to the dais by the Town Beadle and visiting Town Criers.  When in position the Criers will chorus “Hip Hip Hooray” accompanied by an explosion of confetti canons;
  • Students from King Edward VI School, led by Coventry Corp of Drums, process through the arena from Waterside and will lead the procession as they proceed to Holy Trinity accompanied by the Vicar of Stratford-upon-Avon, Reverend Patrick Taylor.
  • The ATC Band escorts a minister and primary school children to the Church;
  • The WMFS Band will follow the KES contingent as they lead the rest of the Procession from Bridge Street, along High Street, Chapel Street, Church Street and Old Town;
  • The Compere will invite spectators, intent on going to church to lay flowers, to join the end of the Procession as it moves into High Street;
  • The Procession will pass through Holy Trinity Church, depositing flowers at Shakespeare’s grave;
  • The Procession is now over;
  • Throughout the day, competitors in the National Living Statues Competition will be performing throughout the town centre and community festivities and other street entertainment will also take place throughout the town, courtesy of Escape Art, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the Royal Shakespeare Company and others;

Shakespeare Sunday


Sunday 28 April 2018

  • Civic Breakfast Reception at the Town Hall from 10:00am onwards (by invitation only);
  • A Procession from the Town Hall to Holy Trinity Church via Chapel Street, Church Street, Old Town;
  • King Edward VI Head Girl takes the Quill in procession to Holy Trinity Church;
  • The Shakespeare Service in Holy Trinity Church, where the Quill will be received and placed in the hand of Shakespeare above his grave;
  • The Shakespeare Service, which includes the Shakespeare Sermon and verse and music from members of the current RSC ensemble,   concludes;
  • Throughout the day there will be community festivities and street entertainment, including the 2nd National Living Statue Competition.  Statues will be on display throughout the Town Centre on Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday.  The winning entry to be announced at 4:00pm on Sunday afternoon;


All timings stated are subject to change, but details were correct at the time of going to press.



We hope you enjoy the occasion.

Please join us again in 2020, on the weekend of 25 and 26 April