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New-look Shakespeare Birthday Celebrations

An exciting blend of old and new will greet visitors at Stratford this year’s Shakespeare Birthday Celebrations, as details of the three-day event emerged last.

This year the event will play host to the UK’s first National Living Statue Championship, with statues competing on Waterside before being judged on the Sunday afternoon.

The inaugural Community Literary Carnival Pageant also promises to bring a whole new dimension to this year’s birthday parade with local groups set to don costumes to honour fictional works.

Displays inspired by characters from such as Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Roald Dahl, AA Milne, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, JK Rowling and Shakespeare, will follow the Birthday Parade through the town centre to Bridge Street.

Passing ‘Mr Shakespeare’, he will hand each group a feather quill symbolising his literary genius being handed down to all aspiring playwrights and authors thereafter.

The civic parade, a staple of the celebrations will take place as normal following the literary carnival pageant, with flowers being left at Shakespeare’s grave at Holy Trinity Church.

Cllr George Atkinson, Chairman of Stratford-on-Avon District Council, said: “We are delighted to be hosting many new elements of Shakespeare’s Birthday Celebrations and look forward to seeing many of you taking part.”

“Support and involvement of everyone in our town and the surrounding area is vital to help us reach our goal of making the celebrations financially sustainable and guarantee their place in our heritage.”

“Success of our new carnival in 2018 will lay firm foundations for future years, attracting visitors to join us and enjoy what Stratford-upon-Avon has to offer.”

Stratford Mayor, Cllr Victoria Alcock, added: “There is still time to register your community group’s interest in joining the first Literary Carnival Pageant, but hurry, you need to apply by 2 March. There is a nominal charge of just ten pounds to help with administration costs, but your enthusiasm and creativity is the most important requirement. Take a look at the expression of interest form on the Shakespeare’s Celebrations website, www.shakespearescelebrations.com for more details.”

“Costumes are essential, and Stratford Town Trust is making grants available to support Stratford-upon-Avon town community groups wishing to take part. Groups resident in the town may apply for up to £250 to help with the purchase of fabrics and accessories to make costumes or to hire them for the event. Time flies, however, so you urgently need to visit the Town Trust website at www.stratfordtowntrust.co.uk or there is a link on www.shakespearescelebrations.com for details of how to apply. The closing date for costume grant applications is Wednesday 28 February 2018, for payment in early March.”

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