Two theatre companies renowned for their productions of the Bard's work will next month mark his birthday with a series of events. In London, Shakespeare’s Globe will throw open its doors on the day itself, Saturday 23 April 2005; while, in Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon, the Royal Shakespeare Company will commemorate the milestone on Sunday 24 April.

Building on the success of last year’s inaugural event, supported by the London mayor Ken Livingstone as part of the city’s St George’s Day celebrations, the Globe will throw open its doors from 9.30am on the Saturday. In addition to tours of the theatre, there will be the chance to get advice from a member of the company before performing a few lines on the Globe stage. There will also be specially devised games, period and modern music and party food on offer.

The following day, the RSC will hold its annual open day in Stratford-upon-Avon. From 11.30am to 5.00pm, the public will be able to learn more about the company via a series of workshops and tours.

Free events include a warm-up session with an RSC voice specialist and movement director and a demonstration from RSC fight director Terry King. There are also a number of events specifically aimed at those under 16, and a series of theatre 'surgeries', run by RSC actors, directors and casting directors, will also feature for those interested in getting into the industry.

In addition to myriad free-of-charge events, there will be a series of special events including sessions on: “Shakespeare’s Wizards” led by Harry Potter stars and RSC actors David Bradley and Ray Fearon; “From Stratford to Hollywood” with RSC associates Patrick Stewart and Samantha Bond; “How Shakespeare Writes for Actors” with RSC honorary director John Barton and Corin and Vanessa Redgrave; and “What Shakespeare Did for Us” led by RSC associate director Gregory Doran and TV historian Michael Wood.

Spaces are limited for the special sessions. Tickets can be booked in advance by calling the RSC Theatre Events Ticket Line on 01789 403492.

- by Terri Paddock