University celebrates 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death

Charles Beers, Staff Writer

Both faculty and students gathered in Willard Smith Library on April 22 with their favorite sonnets and verses in hand, ready to celebrate the life of one of history’s most famous playwrights, William Shakespeare.  

The event was hosted by the English department. After inviting attendees to sing happy birthday to the literary icon, Associate Professor of English Jean Peterson provided a brief history lesson with a glimpse into the creation of Shakespeare’s famous Globe Theatre.

“There was a lot of espionage in the creation of the Globe,” Peterson said.

The audience learned how Shakespeare and the actors from his company stole the theatre piece by piece, while the landlord was out of town. Once the parts had been taken off of the property, it was rebuilt.

“He was rescuing his livelihood as a playwright in a really essential way,” Peterson said. “This was the beginning of the Globe Theatre.”

The attendees then engaged in dramatic readings of their favorite Shakespeare pieces, including “Henry V,” “Hamlet,” and countless classic sonnets.

The reading and celebration demonstrated how, four centuries later, Shakespeare is still making his mark on generations of readers and writers.

“I thought the celebration was a great tribute to Shakespeare,” Brianna Bjordahl ’19 said. “It really showed the diversity of his works from comedic scenes to love sonnets to Macbeth.”

Bjordahl’s favorite performance was a reenactment of the scene between Benedick and Beatrice from “Much Ado About Nothing.”

“Everyone seemed to really love Shakespeare,” Bjordahl said. “It was a lot of fun just being in that kind of atmosphere.”

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