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A Celebration of Shakespeare in Southwark

His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh was present at Southwark Cathedral, on Saturday 23 April, for A Celebration of Shakespeare in Southwark.  This special service remembered the death of William Shakespeare 400 years ago.  

The Bishop of London, the Rt Revd and Rt Hon. Richard Chartres KCVO, preached.  In his sermon he spoke of the relocation of the original Globe from Shoreditch to the new site on Bankside in 1598 and quoting Ben Jonson he noted that ‘He (Shakespeare) was not of an age but for all time’.  He continued that ‘in a final tribute Jonson declared “I love the man and so honour his memory, on this side idolatry, as much as any.” and added: ‘And so say all of us’.  The Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, pronounced the blessing. 

It was a wonderful occasion with the Globe Young players performing Fear No More the Heat o’ the Sun from Cymbeline and members of the Globe Winter Season Actors performing extracts from The Winter’s Tale, Pericles and The Tempest.  The Great Choir of Southwark Cathedral sung a new setting of Psalm 46, written by Philip Moore, which had been especially commissioned by Southwark Cathedral and Shakespeare’s Globe for the 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

During the service children from the Cathedral school and Zoe Wanamaker CBE, President of Shakespeare’s Globe laid nosegays on William Shakespeare’s and Sam Wanamaker’s memorials and at Edmond Shakespeare’s tombstone.

In his welcome the Dean of Southwark, the Very Revd Andrew Nunn said, ‘Many come to pay their respects to Shakespeare when they visit the Cathedral.  He is as alive today as he was then and perhaps more loved for now the globe comes to the Globe and we all rejoice in the one who made the English language sing’.  Afterwards he commented, ‘Southwark Cathedral was delighted to host this special service and to celebrate the life of such a wonderful poet and playwright who had such strong links with this Cathedral.  It has been a great event’.

The Bishop of Southwark, said ‘I am delighted that there are such strong bonds between Shakespeare’s Globe and Southwark Cathedral, which would have been his parish church and which was very much ‘his’ church.  Shakespeare’s works are as relevant today as they were when he wrote them and it was wonderful to see some of his words performed in the place in which he, his brother and Sam Wanamaker, who did so much to re-establish the Globe on Bankside are memorialised’.

A selection of images from the service can be found on the Diocese of Southwark’s Flickr stream: https://flic.kr/s/aHskz5tHF2