Celebrating Shakespeare

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 performances of extracts from Shakespeare’s plays.

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.

Click here for a printable fact sheet on 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.

And now to 2018.  On Sunday 22 April the Painted Room will be open so be one of the first to see the wall paintings in all their glory now the panels have been removed - no need to book, just turn up.  You can also enjoy performances of Shakespeare but booking is essential! Click here for event details. 

On Monday 23 April at 11am. come to Cornmarket and stop and watch as 'town and gown' process from the Lord Mayor's Parlour at the Town Hall to the Painted Room to mark Shakespeare's birthday.