In Brief

William Shakespeare’s best quotes on birth and death

Fans of the Bard are celebrating the anniversaries of his birth and death today

Today marks the anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare – and what would have been his 456th birthday.

Hailed as one of the world’s greatest playwrights, Shakespeare is also responsible for coining words and phrases that are still widely used today, from critic and elbow to lacklustre and lonely.

This year the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) is unable to celebrate the anniversary with physical events in his birthplace of Stratford-upon-Avon due to the coronavirus lockdown, but it has launched a worldwide initiative, #ShareYourShakespeare, encouraging people everywhere to film or photograph something Shakespeare-related and upload it to Twitter, Instagram or YouTube.

The Guardian says this could take the form of teaching your dog to bark the word Macbeth, recreating the Romeo and Juliet balcony scene with vegetables, shouting some Hamlet over the garden fence to your neighbour, or baking a Shakespeare-themed cake.

Gregory Doran, the RSC’s artistic director, said that with productions cancelled and buildings closed, “it feels more important than ever to connect with our audiences, artists and partners across the world through shared experiences”.

“Together we can celebrate those everyday acts of human creativity and resilience that continue to inspire us, raise a smile and propel us forward, together in times of crisis,” he said.

In addition, the RSC and Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT) will be providing a programme of online entertainment and resources. This includes productions of RSC performances being broadcast via BBC Four and BBC iPlayer between now and September as part of the BBC Culture in Quarantine series.

Audiences can also enjoy streamed versions of up to 17 Royal Shakespeare Company productions via www.marquee.tv, the on-demand streaming service for arts and culture, while productions are also available on www.globeplayer.tv.

Some of the world's best actors, from Patrick Stewart to Marion Cotillard, have at one point or another performed some of Shakespeare's best work on the stage and screen.

Here they are in action, with some of the Bard's best quotes on the subject of birth and death.

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