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How Britain (and Obama) are celebrating William Shakespeare

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The birthday celebration begins at 1 p.m.in the lobby of University Theatre on the Boulder campus and will include a Shakespeare poster for people to decorate, a magnetic poetry window, a Shakespearean insult generator, a “Guess that Shakespeare” game with actors and cupcakes decorated with Shakespearean text.The lights will lead the thousands of gatherers to Holy Trinity Church (below) in the town where Shakespeare was buried, before a vigil in his honour is held by his graveside.

The president, who has seen several stage shows during his presidency, including Broadway’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Fences and Hamilton, visited the recreation on the south bank of the Thames April 23 and watched a special performance of scenes from Hamlet, according to Reuters and the AFP news service.

And this year, to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, around 10,000 masks – based on a newly-commissioned portrait of the Bard – were given out.

The theatrical parade saw a funeral bier of flowers pulled through the picture-postcard streets, while performers marched along wearing pantaloons, ruffs and codpieces.

At Auckland’s pop-up Globe theatre Romeo and Juliet enthralled audiences today. “That was wonderful. I don’t want it to stop”, Obama said.

Dominic Dromgoole, outgoing artistic director of the Globe, put Shakespeare’s enduring appeal down to “fantastic stories that sit at the heart of human experience in all forms”.

Obama is planning to spend part of Saturday, his final day in London, learning more about playwright William Shakespeare.

In fact, many everyday sayings originated from his plays.

The schoolroom where Shakespeare is believed to have learned his craft, owned by King Edward VI School, will be permanently opened to visitors on Saturday following a £1.8 million ($2.6 million, 2.3 million euros) renovation.

Inspired in particular from Romeo and Juliet, Act III Scene II, where Juliet speaks of her star-cross’d lover Romeo, “When he shall die, take him and cut him out in little stars, and he will make the face of heaven so fine…”.

The brilliant six-minute long sketch began with the Royal Shakespeare Company’s current Hamlet, Paapa Essiedu, beginning the soliloquy only to be interrupted by comedian Tim Minchin who was adamant the emphasis should be on the word “or”.

“I don’t think we’ve scratched the surface of how much Shakespeare can do in the world”.

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