In the 1930s OPT began a Shakespeare Birthday pageant so that on 23 April each year, University and Town dignitaries would meet at the Lord Mayor’s Parlour at the Town Hall and parade to the Painted Room where they would raise a toast to the ‘immortal bard’ in ,malmsey and sack a sweet wine. This ‘tradition’ ceased in the 1960s and was revived in 2013 by OPT. This now takes place each year and has become a weekend event alongside the Pageant, with open access tours of the rooms with experts, and Oxford University students and Creation Theatre performing extracts from Shakespeare’s plays in the Rooms.
We are grateful to TORCH who in 2015 provided a grant to allow us to bring together a souvenir brochure which chart the history of the Painted Room.
In 2016 a special event marked the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death when leading Shakespeare academic Sir Jonathan Bate raised the toast before heading to Stratford for the gala celebrations.