Though the man may have hailed from Stratford-upon-Avon, it’s worth remembering that one of the finest strings to London’s decorated bow is being the birthing ground of works by the finest playwright in history.
For 25 years, William Shakespeare has been celebrated by the Globe in its current guise, which in itself is a tribute to the theatre built in 1599 on the South bank of the River Thames where he penned his plays.
To commemorate the landmark anniversary of the theatre, a new art trail has been created with 25 quotes from the literary monolith around Southwark, where he once walked and inked his historical works.
Londoners can scurry around the Bankside area to gaze at the art and take in the quotes from the bard, which aim to illustrate the ways his words provide meaning and strike a chord over 400 years on. The walls will be decorated with photography, illustrations, textile and graphic design, projections, and will even feature street art from year 8 pupils at Borough Academy.
We won’t reveal every quote on the trail, but you can expect the likes of “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day”, which has been re-imagined as a piece of art by Kristina Chan reflecting the fragility of our planet in the midst of a climate crisis.
Nicole Gordon, CEO of Better Bankside, said: “The anniversary of Shakespeare’s Globe presents the perfect opportunity to reflect on Bankside’s contribution to history and literature. While many people associate Shakespeare to his birthplace of Stratford-Upon-Avon, he actually lived in our neighbourhood for many years, and opened the original Globe Theatre himself – where his first plays were performed.
“So it is with great pleasure that we can celebrate his works this way, on the very spot that many of these quotes will have been originally written, more than 400 years ago.”
Better Bankside, Aide Esposito and Jack Arts are behind the project collaborating with a number of of artists, as well as Shakespeare’s Globe, Art Academy, Bankside Gallery, Rose Theatre, Bankside Open Spaces Trust, WPP, Fabrix, Knowlemore, and a plethora of local businesses.
Shakespeare’s Globe opened in its reconstructed form in Southwark in 1997, after 23 years of campaigning (spearheaded by actor Sam Wanamaker), construction, planning and funding. After the original building burned down in a 1613 fire during a performance of Henry VIII, it was rebuilt in just a year. But, it was closed down by the government in 1642, and then demolished in 1644. For 25 years, the Globe has stood for its third stint as an essential checkpoint in London’s rich history. All’s ell that ends well, eh…
This trail is completely free and runs through the rest of summer, until September 30. To view full details and download a map of the trail, head to the Bankside website.