Shakespeare's Birthday (disambiguation)

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William Shakespeare was born in April 1564 in Stratford upon Avon. His exact birthdate is unknown, but it was likely within a few days of his baptism on April 26. Every year, the Folger celebrates Shakespeare's Birthday with a full day of festivities.

Past Birthday celebrations have included:

  • Performances by actors, storytellers, jugglers, and musicians
  • Instruction in stage combat
  • Quill pen writing
  • Poetry readings and competitions
  • Scholarly conferences
  • Cake

Sonnet contest

This yearly contest asks Washington, D.C. area students to submit sonnets of their own composing in honor of William Shakespeare's birthday. Below are the articles for the contest and previous entries.

Shakespeare's Birthday Sonnet Contest

Earlier Shakespeare's Birthday Sonnet Contest winning entries

Birthday lecture

Every year, in commemoration of William Shakespeare's birthday, the Folger Shakespeare Library invites a scholar to speak about Shakespeare and early modern life. The following articles describe the past lectures.

Shakespeare's Birthday Lecture: "Othello Was My Grandfather: Shakespeare in the African Diaspora" (2016)

Shakespeare's Birthday Lecture: "Shakespeare's Life Stories" (2016)

Shakespeare's Birthday Lecture: "From Script to Stage to Script" (2016)

Shakespeare's Birthday Lecture: "Shakespeare and the Language of Possibility" (2015)

Shakespeare's Birthday Lecture: Brian Cummings: Shakespeare, Biography and Anti-Biography (2014)

Shakespeare's Birthday Lecture: "Graymalkin and Other Shakespearean Celts" (2013)

Shakespeare's Birthday Lecture: "What Mamillius Knew: Ceremonies of Initiation in The Winter's Tale" (2012)

Shakespeare's Birthday Lecture: Recipes for Thought: Shakespeare and the Art of the Kitchen (2011)

Shakespeare's Birthday Lecture: "The Good Life in Shakespeare" (2010)

Shakespeare's Birthday Lecture: "How Shakespeare Made History" (2008)

Shakespeare's Birthday Lecture: "The Founders and the Bard" (2007)

Shakespeare's Birthday Lecture: "Garrick and Theatrical Death" (2005)

Shakespeare's Birthday Lecture: "Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots" (2003)