Full Programe

Please note this is a draft programme. Timings may be subject to minor  changes.

Approx. Timing Shakespeare Birthday Celebrations


Procession & Flag Unfurling Ceremony – Saturday 22 April 2017

9:35am ‘Lucky Sonnets’ and hand held Birthday Celebrations flags will be distributed by members and volunteers to spectators;
From 9:30am Civic Coffee Reception at the Town Hall – (by invitation only)
9:40am Mustering in the Great Garden for invited Procession guests; Entry via Chapel Street Gate
10:00 -10:25am West Midlands Fire Service Band (Band) entertains assembling crowds at the top of

Bridge Street and will return to the bottom of Chapel Lane to lead the procession;

10:30am The town’s primary school children will gather in Waterside from 10:00am onwards, and led by the Air Training Corps Band (ATC), will move off at 10:30am to assume their position in upper Bridge Street; The ATC Band will then fall out into head of Wood Street
10:35am The Band will lead civic representatives, diplomats, sponsors and other invited guests in procession from Chapel Lane.  Parade route: Waterside, Bridge Street, High Street and Henley Street.
10:45am As the Procession moves into its positions in Bridge Street and adjoining Streets, KES Head Boy, will position himself by the dais to await the arrival of ‘ Mr Shakespeare’
10:57am Shakespeare will then enter the arena, escorted by drummers from the Coventry Corps of Drums to join KES Head Boy waiting at the dais;
10:58am A specially commissioned fanfare performed by the Band will herald the arrival of KES Head Boy and Shakespeare on the dais;
11:00am Having collected the Quill from the Birthplace, the KES Head Boy enters the Arena and mounts the dais heralded by a fanfare.  When he holds the Quill aloft, a drum roll will cue the unfurling of the Big Birthday Banner, by the Pride of Stratford Young Achiever of the Year, Max Willson. Thereafter all other flags will be unfurled simultaneously, commencing with the Union Flag, unfurled by the Lord Lieutenant.  The National Anthem will immediately follow;
11:02am The Compere thanks the Birthday Celebrations stakeholders and sponsors.
11:04am The Band will play ‘Happy Birthday’ and the crowd will respond with ‘Three Cheers for William Shakespeare’ led by the Town Beadle and visiting Town Criers;  On each hip-hip ’HOORAY’ , the confetti cannons will be launched, as well as hand held confetti cannons positioned at various flag positions along the route;
11:07am The ATC Band escorts the Vicar of Stratford-upon-Avon, Reverend Patrick Taylor, and the primary school children to the Church. The Coventry Corps of Drums enters Bridge Street from Waterside to assume position for the school procession;
11:11am KES Head Boy and his Banner Party process to the bottom of Bridge Street (M&S side). When the Head Boy and Banner party turns at the bottom, the Head Boy pauses, holds up the Quill and the CCD plays a loud ceremonial drum roll.  The Head Boy and Banner party take up position behind the band, followed by the Headmaster, staff and pupils of KES.  The CCD strikes up to lead the procession to church via Bridge Street, High Street, Chapel Street, Church Street and Old Town;
11:20am The WMFS Band will then lead the rest of the Procession starting from Bridge Street along the same route;
11:28am 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;
11:40am The Procession will pass through Holy Trinity Church, depositing flowers at Shakespeare’s grave;
11:50am The Procession is now over;
From 12noon The official Shakespeare Birthday Luncheon will be held at the Crowne Plaza, in Bridgefoot. . This is a ticketed event which is independently  organised;

Throughout the day


Community festivities and street entertainment takes place throughout the town, courtesy of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the Royal Shakespeare Company and others;


Shakespeare Sunday – Sunday 23 April 2017
10:00am Civic Breakfast Reception at the Town Hall from 10:00am onwards (by invitation only)
10:55am A Procession from the Town Hall to Holy Trinity Church via Chapel Street, Church Street, Old Town;
11:15am Divine Service in Holy Trinity Church at which the ‘Shakespeare Sermon’ will be preached;
12:30pm The final blessing of The Shakespeare Service places a finite note on the 453rd Shakespeare Birthday Celebrations, 2017.