VIDEO: Thousands line the streets for Shakespeare parade

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THE streets of Stratford-upon-Avon are 20 people deep as the town marked the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death with its traditional civic parade and this year also saw a colourful guest appearance by a New Orleans Jazz band.

Holding a portrait of the Bard, the 12-strong jazz band entertained crowds lining the streets of Stratford in the town centre.

At one point during the commemoration to Shakespeare an estimated 10,000 Shakespeare masks were worn by the public at the same time as they showed their respects to the world’s greatest playwright.

Members of The Wendell Brunious Band, pictured, joined the annual procession of dignitaries, VIPs, school students, and marching bands in Shakespeare’s Birthday Parade which later made its way to Holy Trinity Church where the Bard is buried.

It marked the start of a special day which will also see a host of activities around town and a star-studded variety show at the RSC tonight.

Stratford-upon-Avon town councillor Victoria Alcock said: “Well done Stratford Town Council, who have organised the parade in the town today. The town clerk Sarah Summers has worked incredibly hard.”

Cllr Chris Saint, the leader of Stratford-on-Avon District Council, said ahead of the parade: “My motion is more on respecting tradition and heritage and taking part in preserving not just Shakespeare but Chinese playwright Tang Xianzu, who both died 400 years ago.

“I was studying Shakespeare when I was 13 years old, but I have been given a book of the Complete Works of Tang Xianzu.”

See Thursday’s Stratford-upon-Avon Herald for a special pull out featuring pictures and reports from all the 400 celebrations.

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Eva Clifford, 9, Reuben Clifford, 6, and Joe Chandler, 9 with Willow the Bear from The Willows School in Stratford are among the crowds in Stratford.

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Members of the English National Opera in Stratford ahead of their performance at the RSC tonight, Saturday.
Members of the English National Opera in Stratford ahead of their performance at the RSC tonight, Saturday.
Members of the English national opera performing at the theatre today
Members of the English national opera performing at the theatre today