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Happy birthday, Mr Shakespeare! St Paul's looks forward to its celebration of the Bard's 450th

On the 450th birthday of the world's most famous playwright and poet, St Paul's is delighted to announce a special series to mark the occasion.

Throughout September 2014, the work of William Shakespeare will be considered from the pulpit of St Paul's and through special musical recitals.

At every Sunday Evensong, preachers will consider Shakespeare’s life and work, particularly in relation to the world of faith, both in his time and now. And following each service a series of recitals for voice and piano will present various interpretations of Shakespeare’s writing through the music of some of our greatest composers.

Although more regularly associated with the south bank of the Thames, Shakespeare would have known St Paul’s very well. Many printers were situated outside in the Churchyard, including his old Stratford friend, Richard Field, who printed several of his early non-dramatic poems, and Shakespeare would have regularly made the journey past St Paul’s to the Stationers' Hall to have his plays registered. 

The Reverend Canon Michael Hampel, Precentor of St Paul’s, and himself a Stratfordian who attended the same school as Shakespeare said: "Shakespeare bestrides the narrow world like a colossus. His colleague, Ben Jonson, said that he was ‘not of an age but for all time’. At St Paul’s, we celebrate the interaction between divine and human creativity and are looking forward to celebrating Shakespeare’s contribution to our understanding of just what makes people tick. His poetry quickens the heartbeat and helps us to confront both the tragedy and the comedy of life.”

Sunday 7 September
Evensong at 3.15pm
Address: Professor Stanley Wells CBE, Editor of the Oxford Shakspeare
Shakespeare’s Questioning Mind

Song Recital at 4.45pm
Martha McLorinan  mezzo-soprano
The Clown’s Songs from Twelfth Night  Stanford
English Lyrics (2nd set)  Parry

Sunday 14 September
Evensong at 3.15pm
Address: The Reverend Canon Mark Oakley, Chancellor, St Paul’s Cathedral
Shakespeare and Tragedy

Song Recital at 4.45pm
Tim Jones  baritone
Willow song  Anon
Blow, blow, thou winter wind  Arne
Let Us Garlands Bring  Finzi

Sunday 21 September
Evensong at 3.15pm
Address: Dr Alison Shell, Reader in English Literature, University College London
Shakespeare and the Church of England

Song Recital at 4.45pm
Andrew Carwood  tenor
Five Shakespeare Songs  Quilter
Songs for Ariel  Tippett

Sunday 28 September
Evensong at 3.15pm
The Reverend Canon Michael Hampel, Precentor, St Paul’s Cathedral
Shakespeare and Comedy

Song Recital at 4.45pm
Mandy Griffin  mezzo-soprano
Ophelia-Lieder  Brahms
Three Songs of Ophelia  Strauss