9 Ways to Celebrate Shakespeare Week in London
Shakespeare Week is upon us! Running from 12-18 March 2018, ShakespeareBT‘s annual celebration aims to bring Shakespeare to life in UK primary schools. But hey, grown ups love him too, so here’s 9 ways to celebrate the Bard in everything from cocktails to afternoon tea and an interactive performance of Julius Caesar
Lead Image: Julius Caesar at the Bridge Theatre (photo: Manuel Harlan)
1 Royal Shakespeare Company’s Hamlet at Hackney Empire
The Royal Shakespeare Company bring a riveting and contemporary take on Shakespeare’s searing tragedy of murder and revenge to Hackney Empire. A student is called home from university to find his life turned upside down. He had the world at his feet, but now everything has changed. Sent by the ghost of his father to avenge his brutal death, Hamlet’s mission to expose the truth is a perilous journey of madness, murder and lost love. Rising star Paapa Essiedu, the first black actor to play the tortured youth for the RSC, revisits his triumphant Hamlet after his critically acclaimed run in Stratford-upon-Avon in 2016. Performances Mon-Sat at 7.15pm. Wed and Sat 1.15pm. Tickets start at £21. Until 31 March.
291 Mare Street, Hackney E8 1EJ; hackneyempire.co.uk
2 A Midsummer Night’s Dream Afternoon Tea at SWAN, Bankside
The course of true love never did run smooth, eat your way through the twists and turns of Shakespeare’s ethereal romantic comedy. Swan’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream afternoon tea is inspired by the journeys of the characters: from the pea flower of Oberon’s love potion, the apricots Titania feeds to Bottom and, of course, mulberries from the lovers’ tree. Love may not look with eyes, but these beautiful traditional tea treats are presented on bespoke crockery reflecting the themes of the play. Specially designed by Annika Wester, they are almost too pretty to tuck into. Almost. Available every day 12pm – 3pm. From £28.50 per person.
21 New Globe Walk, Bankside SE1 9DT; swanlondon.co.uk
3 The Winter’s Tale at Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Shakespeare’s tale of love and loss becomes compelling dance drama in Christopher Wheeldon’s ballet adaptation. The Winter’s Tale follows the unravelling of King Leontes, who suspects his wife Hermione of infidelity with his closest friend. Driven by an obsessive jealousy, Leontes’ rage has heartbreaking consequences, but, through his experience of loss and redemption, he is ultimately reconciled with his friends and estranged family in a poignant finale. Tickets from £20 to £115. Until 21 March.
Bow St, WC2E 9DD; roh.org.uk
4 Julius Caesar at the Bridge Theatre, Tower Bridge
Caesar returns in triumph to Rome and the people pour out of their homes to celebrate. Alarmed by the autocrat’s popularity, the educated élite conspire to bring him down. After his assassination, civil war erupts on the streets of the capital. Experience Shakespeare’s political thriller, in a one of a kind way with the all-new Bridge Theatre’s all-new promenade staging. Become part of the action and join the crowd of hundreds that stand among the street party greeting Caesar’s triumphant return to Rome, the Congress that witnesses his murder and the civil war that erupts in the wake of his assassination. Performances Tue-Sat 7.45pm, Wed and Sat 2.30pm, and Sunday 3pm. Immersive Standing Tickets £25. Seated Tickets £10-65. Until April 16.
3 Potters Fields Park, London Bridge SE1 2SG; bridgetheatre.co.uk
5 Black Ballet Double Bill at the Barbican
Ballet Black, a company of international dancers of black and Asian descent, will deliver a double bill as part of Barbican Dance 2018. This year Black Ballet will be performing a new narrative based on the South African fable, The Suit alongside Arthur Pita’s A Dream Within a Midsummer Night’s Dream. A Dream Within a Midsummer Night’s Dream is a heady piece of dance-theatre for which the Portuguese choreographer earned an Olivier nomination following its premiere. The production mixes the classical and contemporary to distil the essence of Shakespeare’s comedy, unfolding to an eclectic soundtrack that includes Eartha Kitt, Barbra Streisand and Yma Sumac. 15-17 March.
Silk Street EC2Y 8DS; 020 7638 4141; barbican.org.uk
6 Much Ado About Nothing at the Globe Theatre
‘Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps.’ Packed with intrigue, double-crossing and plenty of laughter, Much Ado About Nothing is the perfect introduction to Shakespeare for families. Following the turbulent romances between Hero and Claudio and Beatrice and Benedict, this exploration of what loyalty, chivalry, and true love really mean empowers young people to challenge their own perceptions of relationships. This production is created especially for young people and is n opportunity for all the family to attend a full-scale, fast-paced 90-minute performance in the Globe Theatre. Saturday 17 March at 2pm and 6pm; Tuesday 20 March at 7pm. Tickets £5-15.
21 New Globe Walk, Bankside SE1 9DT; shakespearesglobe.com
7 Shakespearean Inspired Cocktails at The Hamptons Bar, Westminster
To celebrate the ‘English Classics, Reinvented’ campaign, The Hamptons Bar has introduced Cocktail Classics, Reinvented. Each month their talented mixologists reinvent a different cocktail, adding a Shakespearean twist that feels perfectly at home in the quintessentially English bar or the stunning Shakespearean courtyard. Enjoy classic cocktails with a twist, expertly crafted and inspired by the beauty of the Bard’s words. For March, enjoy the Othello, the reinvented Hemingway Special. Full of love and war, Othello is a strong and serious drink of Bacardi, Maraschino liqueur and grapefruit juice.
54 St James’ Court, Buckingham Gate, Westminster SW1E 6AF; stjamescourthotel.co.uk
8 Love’s Labour’s Lost at The Rose Playhouse, Southwark
“And when Love speaks, the voice of all the gods Makes heaven drowsy with the harmony.” So speaks Berowne but then his boss invites him to undertake three years of intense study, renouncing the company of women. How long can they dodge Cupid’s arrow when the Princess of France and her vivacious ladies come to town? Find out in this 90-minute comedy of romance, mistaken identity and moral dilemma. Until 24 March.
56 Park Street, Southwark SE1 9AR; roseplayhouse.org.uk
9 Walk with Will: Shakespeare’s London at Mansion House Underground, the City
Stroll along the south side of the Thames, reflecting on the sights, and sounds that Shakespeare’s audiences would have had when visiting the playhouses of Bankside. Find out about the other forms of entertainment that were on offer to those willing to cross the river, some not so pleasant! See where the original Globe was located, and hear why it and others were built on the ‘wrong’ side of the river, far away from the City. The tour lasts 1 and a half hours to 2 hours and is guided by a professional actor.
38 Cannon Street EC4N 6JD; eventbrite.co.uk