JULIAN Lloyd Webber has agreed to become patron of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s fourth annual Shakespeare Week 2017.
The appointment of the renowned musician and younger brother of Andrew Lloyd Webber is a major coup for the trust, as it has decided that the week-long celebration next March would have a musical theme.
Despite his role, there are no plans at the moment for Lloyd Webber to visit Stratford during the week and it will be someone else who will compose the official song of the celebration.
That person will be Steve Titford, who wrote school musical Shakespeare Rocks in 2014.
Shakespeare Week was established by the Birthplace Trust in 2014 as a way to share and celebrate Shakespeare’s creative legacy with every primary school child in the country.
This year, more than 1.9million children in 12,000 primary schools across the UK took part.
It takes place next year from 20th to 26th March.
Mr Lloyd Webber, who is principal of the Birmingham Conservatoire, said: “I am particularly excited about next year’s theme, what better way to introduce our children to Shakespeare than through the shared joy of music?
“I passionately believe that all children should have access to the very best of our country’s great cultural heritage, regardless of their background or circumstances.
“Shakespeare Week is a wonderful opportunity for primary school children, their teachers and families to discover the work of our greatest playwright in exciting, fun and sometimes surprising ways; I encourage everyone to get involved and embrace this fantastic programme.”
Marcia Williams, author of Tales from Shakespeare, reading The Tempest in five installments during Shakespeare Week is one of the week’s highlights.
Jacqueline Green, head of learning and participation at the Birthplace Trust said: “Shakespeare Week is now firmly established in the annual school calendar and we’re absolutely thrilled that in this special anniversary year, more children than ever before celebrated our nation’s literary great.”
Baroness Floella Benjamin, who presented Play School in the 1980s, was ambassador last year and is still an active supporter.
Schools wanting to register to take part should see www.shakespeareweek.org.uk