Shakespeare Birthday Lunch

On Saturday 22nd April the Shakespeare Birthday Lunch returned to Stratford-upon-Avon with an array of guests to celebrate William Shakespeare’s 459th Birthday.

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The lunch for 350 VIP guests hosted by Alexander Armstrong was attended by the likes of the Pragnell Shakespeare Birthday award winner Greg Doran, actress Alex Kingston, performer Marisha Wallace, Jack and Jemma Savoretti, Rebekah and Charlie Brooks, Ronni Ancona, John and Phoebe Hitchcox, Katherine Kingsley, Dame Janet Suzman, English historian Michael Wood OBE, Viscount and Viscountess Boyne, Francie Cain, Lord and Lady Daventry.

The Shakespeare Birthday Lunch also welcomed guests from the Ambassadorial community including:

Mr Thani Thongphakdi and his wife Mrs Noppanuch Thongphakdi, Royal Thai Embassy

Mrs Åsa Theander, Embassy of Sweden

His Excellency Mr Li Liyan Minister Counselor of Culture, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China

Dr Marta de Zuniga and husband, Fernando de Zuniga, Embassy of the Republic of Poland

His Excellency Mr Vikram Kumar Doraiswami and wife, Mrs Sangeeta Doraiswami, High Commission of India

Mr José María Robles Fraga, Embassy of Spain

The Pragnell family were delighted to have the honour of organising this year’s Shakespeare Birthday Lunch, at the RSC Avon Bank gardens overlooking the River Avon. We are long-standing supporters of the RSC, the theatre, and Stratford-upon-Avon’s annual Shakespeare Birthday Celebrations; a tradition that dates back over 200 years. Over the course of the Bard’s birthday weekend, performers, artists, and ambassadors from all over the world come together to celebrate the life and works of history’s greatest playwright.

The RSC performed a musical number featuring Alison Arnopp.

Grace was announced by the Reverend Patrick Taylor, Vicar of Stratford upon-Avon.

Professor Nataliya Torkut, head of the Ukrainian Shakespeare Institute performed the immortal memory speech to celebrate the worldwide legacy of William Shakespeare.

Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire, Tim Cox performed the Loyal Toast.

Dame Janet Suzman presented a series of poems by Anne Shakespeare.

Mark Quarterly and Sophie Khan-Levey from the RSC performed a duologue.

Guests were served a champagne reception on arrival and a delightful three-course lunch of Butter Roasted Chicken Breast with Wye Valley Asparagus, Wild Garlic and Pomme Puree for main, and for dessert, a delicious Rhubarb and Ginger Creme Brulée. Followed by a selection of local British Cheeses, served with Crackers, Chutney, and Fruit.

Guests were addressed by Pragnell Shakespeare Birthday Award winner Greg Doran.

The final RSC performance was presented by Alex Kingston with a monologue.

Guests enjoyed the Birthday party atmosphere and were entertained with musical performances from Marisha Wallace, Olivier Award nominated star of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

A selection of highlights and photographs from Shakespeare’s 459th Birthday Lunch, image credit Getty @davebenett

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