Travel By Numbers: Shakespeare
To mark the Bard's birthday today, Laura Holt looks at the destinations which influenced the playwright's work
Saturday 23 April 2011
The number of standing seats at the Globe Theatre. Having moved from Stratford-upon-Avon to London in 1596 – following his marriage to Anne Hathaway – Shakespeare embarked on a professional career as an actor and playwright. He was a member of the syndicate responsible for building the first Globe Theatre in Southwark in 1599. Rebuilt faithful to its original form some 400 years later, it opens for the new summer season today with a performance of Hamlet. Tickets from £5. shakespearesglobe.com
The time, in the morning, that the special Birthday Procession begins on 30 April in Stratford-upon-Avon. The march sets off from Shakespeare's birthplace on Henley Street and finishes at his grave inside the Holy Trinity Church, with brass bands and costumed dancers leading the way. shakespearesbirthday.org.uk
The act, and scene, in which Macbeth proclaims: "I will not be afraid of death and bane, till Birnam forest come to Dunsinane." Referred to as "the Scottish play", it tells the tale of a king turned mad by ambition and guilt. Today, an old fort remains at Dunsinane Hill – known locally as Macbeth's Castle – though the ramparts are most clearly viewed from the adjacent Black Hill. visitscotland.com
The year the Royal Shakespeare Company was founded by director Peter Hall. The troupe celebrates its 50th birthday this year with events and performances including a new production of Macbeth, which opened the summer season last week. Other reasons to visit the Bard's birthplace at Stratford-upon-Avon include a revamped couplet of theatres – the Swan and the Royal Shakespeare – plus a new riverside café and exhibition space. rsc.org.uk
The annual number of visitors at Kronborg Castle. This 16th-century Danish fortress was fictionalised in Hamlet as Elsinore Castle. In the opening scene, Prince Hamlet is driven to avenge his father's death after a ghost appears at Elsinore claiming the former King of Denmark was murdered. Visit the Unesco-listed site and take a torch-lit tour through the cavernous rooms, including a 62-metre-long ballroom. kronborg.dk
The year Bermuda was discovered by the Spanish. Academics believe the island was the setting for The Tempest; where the characters are shipwrecked on a mythical isle. The story is thought to have been based on reports of the Sea Venture which sank in the region in 1606. See modern shipwrecks on a snorkelling trip, from $45 (£27). snorkelbermuda.com
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