World Shakespeare Congress
In 2016 the World Shakespeare Congress held its five-yearly international conference in Stratford and London, attended by over 800 delegates. To mark this event, on 1 August the Shakespeare Club hosted a tea at Holy Trinity Church for speakers and seminar leaders with past presidents and members present to introduce them to the Shakespeare Club and its history, reinforcing old friendships and making new contacts.
Trainee teacher visit hosting
During a meeting in 2015 it was suggested that the club could sponsor visits to Stratford by trainee teachers, enthusing them for the life and works of Shakespeare and thereby enhancing their future teaching of Shakespeare in schools. In June 2016 this was put in place with Emma Dawson and Marie Solomon being hosted by committee-members to a performance at the RSC and a visit to Shakespeare’s Birthplace. Feedback was so positive that it is hoped this will become a regular event in the Club’s timetable.
Falcon Hotel luncheon 2016
To mark the double celebration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and the 200th anniversary of the first Stratford celebrations of his birth, on Saturday 7 May the Shakespeare Club held a luncheon at the Falcon Hotel, where the Club had been founded in 1824. The date itself was selected in order not to clash with the extremely busy Birthday weekend itself. The Club had originally been founded to hold a “periodical meeting, and to pay an annual tribute to [Shakespeare’s] memory by a public dinner on his birth-day”. With this as its starting point, it’s perhaps strange that for many years the Club has not had a meal together, its monthly meetings instead consisting of lectures given by visiting speakers.
After enjoying lunch, the members were treated to a series of entertainments, almost entirely delivered by the Club’s talented members. Mr Robert Lister, dressed in Victorian splendor, was the Master of Ceremonies and Toastmaster. Roger Taylor and Tasha Moss sang one of Shakespeare’s songs as well as leading the singing of the National Anthem and songs including Garrick’s Warwickshire Lad, first sung in Stratford in 1769. There were readings from the Chairman of the Club, Jean Lawrance, from Jane Taylor, and from James Stredder. Thanks to all of them and especially to Susan Brock, the Club’s Secretary, who undertook most of the organization of the day.
Birthday celebration 2016
On 23 April 2016 members of the committee of the Shakespeare Club took part in the traditional Stratford-upon-Avon celebrations for Shakespeare’s Birthday. The Club was allocated a position high up Bridge Street, in acknowledgement of its historic role in the organisation of the Celebrations. After pulling the Club’s own flag, Club Chairman Jean Lawrance carried the traditional laurel wreath from Bridge Street down to Holy Trinity Church where it was laid beneath Shakespeare’s monument amidst the thousands of other floral tributes.
900th Club meeting
The Club celebrated its 900th meeting on 9 February 2016. Members raised glasses of sparkling wine to toast the prosperity of the Club, looking forward to its 1000th meeting which will take place, at the current rate of 8 meetings a year, in 2028.