William Shakespeare died on died Apr 23, 1616, at Stratford-upon-Avon, and his legacy will be celebrated - and questioned - on the 400th anniversary.
The long-running debate about whether The Bard was the greatest writer or the greatest fraud is certain to resurface on the anniversary. His authorship has been questioned publicly since the 19th Century.
The Shakespeare Theatre Association (STA) is working to have Apr 23 named World Shakespeare Day by the United States Congress and/or the United Nations.
The STA will be among bodies organizing events that explore the dramatist's legacy. The STA plans performances and readings of his plays and sonnets in every time zone around the world, as well as from the International Space Station. The events will be streamed live online via the 400 Dreams initiative.
The 1623 original edition of the playwright's first published collection will be exhibited in the United States, Puerto Rico and US Virgin islands as part of the celebrations. Each location will host the exhibition for four weeks.
The Bard will also live on via smartphones. The New York Shakespeare Exchange's Sonnet Project has partnered with actors and directors from New York City to film readings of his 154 sonnets. To date, they have recorded 102. Each video is uploaded to a mobile app, which then notifies users that a new video is available.
Shakespeare's plays, written in the late 16th and early 17th centuries for a small repertory theatre, are now performed and read more often and in more countries than ever before, according to Encyclopedia Britannica, which adds that he is a writer of great intellectual rapidity, perceptiveness, and poetic power. Sceptics, however, attribute these qualities and authorship of the plays to other writers, including Sir Walter Raleigh and dramatist Christopher Marlowe. The Week magazine observes that Shakespeare may be widely seen as the greatest writer of all time, but he can't seem to get a break from critics.
Date written/update: 2015-05-13