Happy birthday Bill!

Today is reportedly the day when William Shakespeare was born 450 years ago in 1564. There is no actual record of his birth date but he was baptized on April 26th and this makes people think that today was the likely day, which also happens to be the day he died in 1616.

To celebrate, the Globe Theater, the recreated home to so many of his plays, is taking a troupe on tour for the next two years in which they will perform Hamlet in every single country in the world. The artistic director of the theater discussed this project on NPR today.

Hamlet is undoubtedly Shakespeare’s most well-known play, with many universal themes running through it that practically anyone anywhere can relate to at some level, so it is a good choice. On the other hand it is also his longest play and likely will have to be performed with bits cut out, something that old Bill felt pressured to do in his own time.

Even Blackadder found it too long, especially Kenneth Branagh’s uncut 4-hour long version.

For more serious fare, here is a 1963 discussion about the play involving Peter O’Toole, Orson Welles, Ernest Milton, and Huw Weldon.


  1. colnago80 says

    Actually, the plays and sonnets were written by Sir Edward DeVere, Earl of Oxford (just kidding).

  2. moarscienceplz says


    Naw, everybody knows Christopher Marlowe faked his own death to avoid his debts and used Shakespeare as his front.

  3. Timothy says

    C’mon! I liked Kenneth Branagh’s version of Hamlet! I’ve watched it several times. 🙂

  4. rq says

    I’ve always been a little confused about his birthdate – some sources say the tradition at the time was to baptise a baby on the third day after birth, which would make Shakespeare’s birthday today (well, yesterday), while others have mentioned that, due to high infant mortality, he may even have been baptised on the day of his birth, making April 26 his birthday. For personal and irrational reasons I prefer this second date as his birthday 😉 but in any case, Happy Birthday and Well Done!

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