Bard fest Satur­day

The en­dur­ing legacy of Wil­liam Shake­speare takes cen­tre stage this week­end for the city’s an­nual Shake­speare Fes­ti­val.


Shake­speare 400 is a qu­at­tro-cen­ten­nial trib­ute to the Bard of Avon in mu­sic, song, son­net, scene and so­lil­o­quy that takes place this Satur­day April 23.

Called In Cel­e­bra­tion of this Day – a line taken from Henry V, this year’s fes­ti­val com­mem­o­rates the 400th an­niver­sary of Shake­speare’s death and the play­wright’s 452nd birth­day.

Fes­ti­val founder Sheri­dan Hickey says the 7.30pm pageant at St Peter’s Angli­can Church on Ruahine St, Ter­race End will see play­ers per­form­ing son­nets, along with scenes and so­lil­o­quies from Shake­speare’s plays.

‘‘There will be a va­ri­ety of in­ter­ludes and Anne Hath­away, Shake­speare’s widow, read­ing from his will in trib­ute to the ex­tra­or­di­nary tal­ents of the world’s most per­formed play­wright.’’

Join­ing in the fes­tiv­i­ties are the Re­nais­sance Singers pre­sent­ing tra­di­tional and con­tem­po­rary ar­range­ments of songs from the plays. Also per­form­ing will be Vir­ginia and War­ren War­brick whose con­tri­bu­tion will in­volve taonga puoro, Maori in­stru­ments and song in te reo.

Sheri­dan says St Peter’s main­tains a rare con­nec­tion with Shake­spearean times – an authen­tic King James Bi­ble that was printed dur­ing the play­wright’s life­time.

‘‘It’s a unique ex­pe­ri­ence for per­form­ers, stu­dents, schol­ars, theatre prac­ti­tion­ers and mu­si­cians to ap­pre­ci­ate the words of Shake­speare,’’ Sheri­dan says. ‘‘El­iz­a­bethan at­tire is op­tional.’’

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