With the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death this year, we present our quick guide to where you can catch the Bard's work, and other events inspired by him, in 2016. With a programme of events including A Midsummer Night’s Dream performed in the grounds of Berkeley Castle and Macbeth played out in Redcliffe Caves, you'll find plenty to keep you entertained.

Man holding skull in performance of Hamlet

Image - Mark Douet, Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory

The Book's the Thing: A Rapid Retelling of Hamlet at Bristol Central Library – 22/23 April

For Shakespeare newcomers and passionate fans, the Librarian's Theatre will be performing their play 'The Book's the thing' a fast-paced reworking of Hamlet as you’ve never seen it before.

Shakesbeer Promenade Play, Clifton Village – 23/24 April

Celebrate the life (and death) of Mr William Shakespeare, while taking a tour of beautiful Clifton Village, supping on fine ales and enjoying the Bard's plays as they should be enjoyed – out in the open air!

Soldiers perform against stained glass windows of Bristol Cathedral

Image - Antic Disposition, Henry V at Bristol Cathedral

Henry V at Bristol Cathedral 25/26 April

Marking both the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare and the ongoing centenary of the First World War, Antic Disposition's critically acclaimed production of Henry V returns for a season of special performances in nine stunning locations around the country, including Bristol Cathedral.

Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory – Until 30 April

Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory and Tobacco Factory Theatres offer an all-Shakespeare season. You can catch Hamlet and All’s Well That Ends Well at the Tobacco Factory until the end of the month.

The Complete Deaths, part of MayFest 17/18 May

There are 74 onstage deaths in the works of William Shakespeare – 75 if you count the black ill-favoured fly killed in Titus Andronicus – and Spymonkey will perform them all in this hilarious production.

Image - Midsummer Night's Dream 1935

Shakespeare on Film at the Watershed - 5 - 26 June 

Bristol’s Watershed joins the biggest ever celebration of Shakespeare on Film, showing some of the best film adaptations of the Bard's work in partnership with the BFI. The screenings will form the independent cinema's Sunday Brunch season in June, offering cinema-goers the chance to see a fantastic film as well as get money off their meal in the Café/bar that day. The films will kick off on Sunday June 5 with Warner Brothers’ 1935 version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Germany’s Max Reinhardt and starring James Cagney and Mickey Rooney. Other showings will include Roman Polanski’s adaptation of Macbeth (12 June) and Derek Jarman’s The Tempest (19 June). For the full schedule and more information visit www.watershed.co.uk.

Bristol Old Vic's elaborate stage

Image - Bristol Old Vic

King Lear at Bristol Old Vic – 18 June – 12 July

British theatre legend Timothy West plays Lear in Tom Morris' production of Shakespeare's great tragedy with Stephanie Cole and David Hargreaves alongside the stars of tomorrow from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

Hamlet at Bristol Zoo Gardens – 23 June

If you miss Hamlet at the Tobacco Factory, you can catch an open-air performance of the world’s most famous play in amongst the animals.

Woman performing in Macbeth, in Redcliffe Caves, Bristol.

Image - JonCraig.co.uk, Insane Root's production of Macbeth, Bristol Shakespeare Festival

Shakespeare Festival – 29 June – 29 July

The Bristol Shakespeare Festival is passionate about bringing the freshest, most exciting productions of Shakespeare's plays to some of Bristol's most beautiful and unusual spaces every summer during the month of July. There's Insane Root's Macbeth at Redcliffe Caves, Taking Flight Theatre's Romeo & Juliet at Blaise Castle Estate and much more. You'll find the full programme at www.bristolshakespearefestival.org.  

Berkeley Castle lit up at night

Image - Berkeley Castle

A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Berkeley Castle ­– 17 – 27 July

This Gloucestershire castle has enviable connections with the Bard – it is thought A Midsummer Night’s Dream was actually written for a Berkeley family wedding! What better way to honour this remarkable legacy than to enjoy a performance of the popular play, with its Athenian lovers and forest fairies, in the castle’s spectacular grounds.

A Thousand Dreadful Things at The Station - 18 – 20 July 

Creative Youth Network bring to life Shakespeare’s most devious villains and their most dastardly deeds in this contemporary exploration of the Bard's work. Following the critical and commercial success of the young group's production of Cinderella, this multi-art form show promises to take you on a sensory journey featuring theatre, dance, 3D soundscapes and film. A Thousand Dreadful Things is sure to be an immersive experience of Shakespeare unlike any other. 

Impromptu Shakespeare at The Wardrobe Theatre – 22/23 July

Part of the Bristol Shakespeare Festival, Impromptu Shakespeare presents an exciting new Shakespeare play at the wonderful Wardrobe Theatre & Old Market Assembly. Its cast of quick thinking actors will develop the play right on the spot, with lots of ideas from the audience of course.

Ruff Guide to Shakespeare at Redgrave Theatre – 23/24 July

This family-friendly show is a fun introduction to the great Bard for anyone aged two and up. Seven actors from The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School will take you on a journey through what we know of the playwright’s life, with plenty of hijinks along the way. 

Image - The Lord Chamberlain's Men, Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado about Nothing at Brandon Hill – 29 July

This all-male ensemble are renowned for their atmospheric outdoor performances exhibiting Elizabethan costume, music and dance just as Shakespeare intended. This summer you can catch their version of Much Ado About Nothing at the oldest park in Bristol – Brandon Hill.     

Much Ado about Nothing at Tyntesfield Estate – 30 July

You can also see Lord Chamberlain's Men perform Shakespeare’s sparkling, battle-of-the-sexes comedy at the gorgeous Tyntesfield estate.

And finally…

The ShakespeareThe Shakespeare, The Shakespeare and The Shakespeare

Raise a glass to the Bard at these glorious Bristol pubs – but please make sure to be clear to your fellow thespians which one you’re meeting in.  From the Shakespeare in Redland via The Shakespearein Prince Street (reputedly named after the nearby Theatre Royal) to the Shakespeare in Victoria Street onto the Shakespeare in Totterdown, it’s over an hour to walk door to door. 


Bristol Cathedral
Bristol Cathedral

Much more than a fascinating building, being a fine example of a hall church, it is a centre of Bristol's history, civic life and culture.

Berkeley Castle
Aerial shot of Berkeley Castle Bristol

Berkeley Castle is a beautiful and historic Castle, begun in 1117 and still remains the home of the Berkeley family. It is a great day-out for all the family, hosting special events on bank holidays and during school holidays

Redgrave Theatre
Redgrave Theatre

Hidden aware in the beautiful suburb of Clifton the Redgrave Theatre is one of Bristol’s most popular theatres hosting a wide variety of productions including operas, musicals, stand-up comedy, theatre and dance.

Bristol Old Vic Theatre
Bristol Old Vic Theatre exterior

Built in 1766, Bristol Old Vic is the oldest continuously working theatre in the English speaking world, and remains a place of joy, discovery and adventure to this day.

Cabot Tower and Brandon Hill
Cabot Tower and Brandon Hill Bristol

A century-old 105ft tower, set in the gorgeous parkland of Brandon Hill near Park Street in the West End.

Tobacco Factory Theatres
The Tobacco Factory Exterior

A popular theatre and café bar in Southville, with a programme of touring and in-house productions, childrens' and music events

Redgrave Theatre
Redgrave Theatre

Hidden aware in the beautiful suburb of Clifton the Redgrave Theatre is one of Bristol’s most popular theatres hosting a wide variety of productions including operas, musicals, stand-up comedy, theatre and dance.

Much ado about nothing with The Lord Chamberlain’s Men @ Tyntesfield
Much ado about nothing with The Lord Chamberlain’s Men @ Tyntesfield

Join The Lord Chamberlain’s Men this summer for Shakespeare’s sparkling, battle-of-the-sexes comedy, Much Ado About Nothing.