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How well do you know Shakespeare’s plays? We test your knowledge as Norfolk and Suffolk prepare to mark 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death

PUBLISHED: 12:50 21 April 2016 | UPDATED: 17:36 21 April 2016

400 years since Shakespeare death are being marked by events around the region.

400 years since Shakespeare death are being marked by events around the region.

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This weekend marks the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare and there is no shortage of events in Norfolk and north Suffolk to mark the date.

Have you ever been on a wild goose chase or been eaten out of house and home? Do you have a heart of gold and are more sinned against than sinning?

Well, the naked truth is that we have William Shakespeare to thank for these every-day sayings and so many more, writes Martine Silkstone.


Even in this brave new world we still use countless words and phrases written by a man who has been dead as a doornail for 400 years (including all those shown here in bold).


His poetic writing may set your teeth on edge, and perhaps it’s not for the faint-hearted, but that’s neither here nor there.

Maybe you think ‘it’s all Greek to me’, but for goodness’ sake, give it a chance.
You don’t have to cover all the plays in one fell swoop.

Indeed, a snail-paced approach may be best for those new to his work.


But if you think it’s high time you were introduced to the Bard, then as good luck would have it, there are many events taking place around Norfolk and north Suffolk this year to mark the 400th anniversary of his death on Saturday, April 23.

•KING LEAR

Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich, April 22-30, 7.30pm, 2.30pm April 30, £12-£8, 01603 620917, www.maddermarket.co.uk

Maddermmaket production of Shakespeare’s lyrical tragedy set at the heart of a crumbling dictatorship. Ageing tyrant Lear faces the consequences of maintaining his supremacy through surveillance and cruelty, rather than wisdom. Where once Lear saw all, now his vision is occluded by doubt and deluded sentimentality. Scorning his advisers, Lear hands power to his treacherous daughters, Goneril and Regan. In the same impulse, he banishes the daughter who truly loves him – his youngest child, Cordelia. Loss of hope follows hard on the heels of Cordelia’s flight abroad. Murderous factions vie for power and the bloodbath that ensues is mirrored by Lear’s descent into madness. The cast includes John Dane as King Lear, Nina Taylor as Cordelia Rebecca Aldred as Regan and Nola Merckel as Goneril.

•MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

Strode Room, Music Centre, UEA, Norwich, April 23-24, 7.30pm, £7 (£5 cons), www.ueadramasoc.com

UEA Drama Society present this special production to mark the end of their Shakespeare Week festival. Set in the aftermath of the Second World War, this production reimagines the play’s returning soldiers as female codebreakers from Bletchley Park, swapping the genders of some of Shakespeare’s best loved characters to create a fresh take on this classic play.

•SHAKESPEARE 400 CONCERT

St Andrew’s Church, Great Ryburgh, April 23, 3pm, £10 (£8 cons), 01328 829413, www.standrewsgreatryburgh.org.uk

Special “Shakespeare 400” concert with afternoon tea at St Andrew’s Church in Great Ryburgh. Entitled “Spring, the Sweet Spring” it will see Nigel Wickens (bass-baritone), Gill Smith (keyboard), Peter Trent (lute) performing a programme that includes Shakespeare’s words set to music, some of his sonnets, and lute solos that would have been familiar to Shakespeare’s contemporaries. Proceeds to Church Funds.

•RSC SHAKESPEARE LIVE!

Various locations, April 23, 8.15pm, various prices, full details at www.rsc.org.uk/shakespeare-live-from-the-rsc/in-cinemas

Hosted by David Tennant on Shakespeare’s birthday, and screened live from Stratford-upon-Avon, a unique two-hour event marking the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death comes to cinemas across the region. The star-studded show will celebrate Shakespeare’s plays and their enduring influence on music, dance, opera, musical theatre and comedy. RSC Artistic Director, Gregory Doran, has assembled a once-in-a-lifetime cast including Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellen, Joseph Fiennes, Meera Syal, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Al Murray, Rufus Wainwright, Akala (Hip Hop Shakespeare), The Royal Ballet, English National Opera, Birmingham Royal Ballet and more. See it at Norwich Odeon, Vue and Cinema City; St George’s Theatre, Great Yarmouth; Cromer Regal; Sheringham Little Theatre; Thornham Village Hall; Lowestoft Marina; King’s Lynn Majestic; Abbeygate Cinema, Bury St Edmunds.

•TO PARTY OR NOT TO PARTY - THAT IS THE QUESTION?

Elizabethan House, South Quay, Great Yarmouth, April 23, 11am-4pm, included in museum admission £4.80, (£4.60 cons), £3.90 children, £12.30 family, 01493 745526, yarmouth.museums@norfolk.gov.uk

Celebrate St George’s day with William Shakespeare, on his 400th birthday, at an Elizabethan party, with an array of colourful characters straight from the Bard’s famous plays.

•ONE MAN MACBETH/REVEL IN THE BARD

Millennium Library, Norwich, April 23, 6.30pm-7.45pm, admission free (donations welcome), www.theforumnorwich.co.uk/Gaywood Library, King’s Lynn, April 21, 10.30am, free admission, 01553 768498/Downham Market Library, April 27, 10.30am, admission free, 01366 383073

Norfolk libaries celebrate the great man’s birthday. Celebrate 400 years of Shakespeare by sharing together his plays and poetry at Gaywood and Downham Market. Also to coincide with World Book Night 2016, Millennium Library in Norwich presents Simon Floyd’s One Man Macbeth — one of the greatest plays is retold in one hour by one man!

•SHAKESPEARE’S BEST BITS

Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich, April 24, 7.30pm, £8 (£6 cons), 01603 620917, www.maddermarket.co.uk

All the world’s a stage for this fabulous show focussing on the seven ages of man from the world’s greatest wordsmith performed on the Maddermarket’s Elizabethan style stage. The show will feature an anthology of Shakespearean humour, love and hate performed by an ensemble of talented performers. Also see the GoGoDragon! depicting all the Shakespeare plays created by John Stokes.

•SHAKESPEARE UNTOLD

New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, April 25, 1pm/5pm, £17-£10, 01473 295900, www.wolseytheatre.co.uk

Created by Harper Ray and Adam Sibbald for Shakespeare’s Globe and Seabright Productions this family-friendly double bill is based on Shakespeare’s plays. The stories you know from the characters you don’t. In Romeo Untold, the story of Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet is retold through the eyes of the Capulet Ball’s party planner. Titus Untold retells Shakespeare’s goriest tragedy, Titus Andronicus, as seen from the kitchen of Titus’s piemaker. Ages 5+

•A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM

Norwich Theatre Royal, April 26-30, 7.30pm, 1.30pm April 28/30, £25-£8, 01603 630000, www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk

Norwich-based theatre group The Common Lot stead the stage alongside the Royal Shakespeare Company in a thrilling landmark production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The group, which includes Daniel Fridd playing Flute, Amelia Hursey as Quince, Eve Pandolfi as Snug, Victoria Stone as Snout, Emma Trindall as Starveling and Owen Evans, one half of irrepressible comedic duo The Nimmo Twins, playing Bottom, will perform alongside a cast of 18 professional actors, including Ayesha Dharker as Titania, Queen of the Fairies, Laura Riseborough as Helena, Mercy Ojelade as Hermia, Jack Holden as Lysander and Chris Nayak as Demetrius. They will also reprise their roles on the Royal Shakespeare Theatre’s stage in Stratford-upon-Avon later in the summer.

•RICHARD III

Various venues, April 28, 7.30pm, various prices, full details at www.bfi.org.uk/shakespeare-film/richard-iii-simulcast-around-uk

Special screening of Richard III, presented from a new 2K restoration, to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death with a post-screening discussion between star Ian McKellen and director Richard Loncraine, broadcast live from BFI Southbank. It is the 1930s, and a long and bloody civil war has divided the nation as two powerful families battle for the crown. The end of the war comes suddenly when the reigning King and his heir are killed by the Commander-in-Chief of the York faction, Richard of Gloucester. See it at Norwich’s Cinema City, Abbeygate Cinema, Bury St Edmunds and Aldeburgh Cinema.

•MACBETH

Westacre Theatre, River Road, Westacre, April 23, 6.30pm, £20, 01760 755800, www.westacretheatre.com

Special Shakespeare 400 screening of Justin Kurzel’s much acclaimed 2015 film version of the Scottish play, starring Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard and Jack Madigan. Macbeth, a Thane of Scotland, receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders his king and takes the throne for himself. The screening is followed by a special supper.

•TWELFTH NIGHT

Seagull Theatre, Pakefield, Lowestoft, April 28-30, 7.30pm, £9 (£8 cons), 01502 589726, www.theseagull.co.uk

The Quaysiders, which has been putting on plays in Lowestoft for 40 years, branches out with its first ever production of a Shakespeare play to mark the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death. Enjoy a night in Illyria where love, identity, music and mishap combine to hilarious effect. One of Shakespeare’s best loved comedies brings to the Seagull Theatre a motley collection of Dukes, shipwrecked maidens, ennobled fools, and fatuous manservants. Heroine Viola takes on the guise of a serving man and falls in love with Duke Orsino, who is in turn in love with Olivia. Olivia though falls for Viola in disguise and latterly with her twin brother Sebastian. Meanwhile Malvolio is the victim of Toby Belch’s vicious pranks and Feste’s mockery. Luckily all is resolved by the end of the night…but how? Cast, directed, and produced entirely by local volunteers, this production will be the perfect opportunity for people to encounter the work of the world’s most famous playwright.

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