Shakespeare Birthday Luncheon

Saturday April 20th, 2024

We are delighted to announce that the annual Shakespeare Birthday Luncheon in Stratford-upon-Avon, will be taking place this year on Saturday, April 20th 2024.

Hosted by actor and presenter Alexander Armstrong and in keeping with tradition, it will be an entertaining occasion featuring a three-course lunch, speakers of note, ceremonial toasts and live performances directed by the Royal Shakespeare Company, culminating in the announcement of the winner of the Pragnell Shakespeare Birthday Award.

The Pragnell Shakespeare Birthday Award celebrates individuals who have significantly furthered society’s understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of the Bard’s work. The illustrious roster of winners includes Sir Ian McKellen, Dame Judi Dench and Sir Kenneth Branagh.

Pragnell is delighted to reveal that this year’s winner of The Pragnell Shakespeare Birthday Award is globally renowned actor Dame Vanessa Redgrave DBE.

As long-standing supporters of the annual Shakespeare Birthday Celebrations, we are thrilled to be taking on the honour of overseeing the organisation of Shakespeare’s 460th Birthday Lunch, to be held on Saturday 20th April in the grounds of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

A limited number of general release tickets are priced at £150 per person and will go on sale via the Royal Shakespeare Company website and Box Office: 01789 331111 from Monday February 19th 2024.

In the meantime, should you have any further questions please do not hesitate to get in touch: [email protected].

We very much hope you can join us to celebrate Shakespeare’s 460th birthday, it promises to be a very special day.


Pragnell Shakespeare Award winner Sir Patrick Stewart with Charlie and Jeremy Pragnell

The luncheon is a highlight of the celebrations and we are proud to be part of this. To help give the event the significance it deserves, we, along with some other local supporters, will be subsidising the production of the event. Collectively, we are doing so in memory of William Shakespeare, for the good of the Shakespeare related organisations, The Shakespeare Institute, the RSC, the Birthplace Trust, for the good of the town itself, and for the UK as a whole.


Celebrations taking place in the town centre

Charlie Pragnell states: ‘We wish to give a first-class and welcoming impression to the visiting representatives from the ambassadorial international community for the good of the local and national community. Shakespearean understanding is a cornerstone of contemporary culture. We believe that highlighting these origins in a high quality manner is particularly important in this current political and economic climate. We would welcome further support from those minded to do so.’


Patron of the Royal Shakespeare Company, His Majesty King Charles III receives a royal gift marking Shakespeare’s 400th Anniversary. Presented by Professor Stanley Wells and Charlie Pragnell

Pragnell Shakespeare Award

Introduced in 1990, the Pragnell Shakespeare Birthday Award is an international award funded by Pragnell the Jeweller of Stratford-upon-Avon

It is presented annually on the occasion of the Shakespeare Birthday Celebrations luncheon in Stratford-upon-Avon. The award recognises 'outstanding achievement in extending the appreciation and enjoyment of the works of William Shakespeare and in the general advancement of Shakespearian knowledge and understanding'.

Pragnell Shakespeare Award Roll of Honour
1990 Dame Peggy Ashcroft
1991 Terry Hands
1992 Professor Muriel Bradbrook
1993 Peter Brook
1994 Barbara Jefford
1995 Tanya Moiseiwitsch
1996 Sir Ian McKellen
In 1997 the Award took the form of a tribute to the Flower family
1998 Sir Peter Hall
1999 Paul Scofield
2000 Dame Judi Dench
2001 John Barton
2002 The Folger Shakespeare Library
2003 Professor Stanley Wells
2004 Cicely Berry
2005 Corin Redgrave
2006 Sir Donald Sinden
2007 Harriet Walter
2008 Michael Boyd
2009 Michael Billington
2010 Barrie Rutter
2011 Patrick Stewart
2012 Dame Janet Suzman
2013 Simon Russell Beale
2014 Nicholas Hytner
2015 Sir Kenneth Branagh
2016 Sir Trevor Nunn
2017 Sir Antony Sher
2018 Jane Lapotaire
2019 Professor Jerzy Limon
2020 Juliet Stevenson CBE
2021 Dr John Kani
2022 Adrian Lester CBE
2023 Gregory Doran
2024 Dame Vanessa Redgrave DBE

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