Celebrating the Bard’s birthday

Ryan Hall, Phoebe Millikan, Sophie Gould, Stephanie Cordell and Talana Daff of Groundwork Youth Theatre performed during the opening of the Shakespeare Festival.

Ryan Hall, Phoebe Millikan, Sophie Gould, Stephanie Cordell and Talana Daff of Groundwork Youth Theatre performed during the opening of the Shakespeare Festival.

FOUR-hundred-and-fifty years ago, in the picturesque town of Stratford upon Avon in England, the greatest writer in the English language was born.

His plays have stood the test of time, and William Shakespeare was celebrated in Stratford, of the Wellington Shire variety, on Wednesday night, with his birth and death date marking the official opening of the Shakespeare on the River Festival.

With more than 20 events from April 23 to May 10, the Shakespeare on the River Festival is known for its diverse, entertaining an often hilarious programming, attracting more than 5000 people.

Wellington Shire mayor Scott Rossetti officially opened the festival, cutting Shakespeare’s birthday cake with festival committee president Beth Ripper, and praised the work of the volunteer committee.

Shakespeare on the River Festival committee president Beth Ripper and Wellington Shire mayor Scott Rossetti cut the cake to officially open the Shakespeare on the River Festival.

Shakespeare on the River Festival committee president Beth Ripper and Wellington Shire mayor Scott Rossetti cut the cake to officially open the Shakespeare on the River Festival.

“You get a sense of community, sharing the stage together, transforming into characters on stage — and they are all people we know,” he said.

“It is important to acknowledge the volunteers lighting up the community, without them the community would be dull,” he said.

The Shakespeare on the River Festival art exhibition, on display at Segue Cafe, was also officially opened, with the prize winner to be decided by people’s choice.

Guests were treated to a sneak preview of the community play, Much Ado About Nothing, and Groundwork Youth Theatre’s As You Like It.

Tickets for all events can be pre-purchased through the Segue Cafe, Stratford Courthouse Theatre. Phone 5145 6203 or in person from 9.30 am to 2.30pm, seven days a week, 66 Princes Highway Stratford.

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