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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Governor’s Shakespeare Day Proclamation Adds to ODU Festival Anticipation

Old Dominion University's upcoming "Shakespeare 400 Years After" is the largest, most comprehensive event of the Virginia Shakespeare Initiative.

In recognition of that collaboration, and the 109 events across the state in 2016 that will mark the 400th anniversary of the Bard's death, Gov. Terry McAuliffe proclaimed April 23 Shakespeare Day in the Commonwealth. Shakespeare died April 23, 1616.

"I commend the members of the Virginia Shakespeare Initiative and its partners for their outstanding efforts to mark this important anniversary with exhibits, productions and celebrations," McAuliffe wrote in his proclamation. "The works of William Shakespeare have enriched lives and contributed greatly to literature, film and poetry throughout the world. I thank all those participating in (the) events for helping stimulate creativity across the Commonwealth."

Old Dominion will mark the 400th anniversary with a weeklong festival (April 13-20) of theatrical, musical and dance performances, film screenings, readings, gallery exhibits and an international scholarly conference.

Organizer Imtiaz Habib of Old Dominion's Department of English said, "Shakespeare remains an unshakeable presence deployed in the rhetoric of global politics as well as in the common language of ordinary people in everyday life. Shakespeare's world is indelibly present in this historically rich area in Virginia."

The Virginia Shakespeare Initiative began as a partnership of the American Shakespeare Center, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, and Washington and Lee University. That group partnered with 20 arts groups, libraries, associations and councils and dozens of participant organizations across Virginia.

In an interview with the Virginia Shakespeare Initiative, Habib noted the founding of the nearby Jamestown Settlement in 1607 and that "it is undoubtedly Shakespeare's world that comes here. 'Shakespeare 400 Years After' will examine the living connection between Shakespeare's world and ours here in Virginia, the U.S. and the contemporary world.

"To remember Shakespeare is to understand ourselves," he continued. "That is exactly what I am hoping for people to learn and to explore through this event: to understand common life here and now."

The schedule of stage performances, the "Much Ado Festival," at the Goode Theatre, 4600 Monarch Way in Norfolk:

Thursday, April 14

7:30-9:30 p.m. - "Titus Andronicus"

Friday, April 15

4:00-6:00 p.m. - "Titus Andronicus," Warehouse of Theatre/ODU Rep, directed by Lee Smith and Katherine Hammond.

7:30-9:30 p.m. - "As We Like It: Music Inspired by Shakespeare," ODU Opera, directed by Brian Nedvin

10:30-midnight - "Macbeth," CORE Theatre Ensemble, directed by Edwin Castillo

Saturday, April 16

4:00-6:00 p.m. - "As We Like It: Music Inspired by Shakespeare," ODU Opera, directed by Brian Nedvin

7:30-9:00 p.m. - "Macbeth," CORE Theatre Ensemble, directed by Edwin Castillo

10:30-midnight - "Henry V," Hampton Roads Summer Theatre, directed by Justin McLawhorn

Sunday, April 17

1:00-3:00 p.m. - "As We Like It: Music Inspired by Shakespeare," ODU Opera, directed by Brian Nedvin

4:00-6:00 p.m. - "Henry V," Hampton Roads Summer Theatre, directed by Justin McLawhorn

7:30-9:30 p.m. - "Titus Andronicus," Warehouse of Theatre/ODU Rep, directed by Lee Smith and Katherine Hammond

All tickets are $15 through ODUArtsTix.com or 683-5305.

Free events include:

"The Two Gentlemen of Verona," by the Governor's School for the Arts, directed by Ricardo Melendez, on Brock Commons;

Pop-Up Mini-Performances: "Romeo and Juliet," "Titus Andronicus," Combat Exhibition, and "As We Like It;"

Performance Workshops by the American Shakespeare Center of Staunton, Virginia;

"Reimagining Shakespeare," poets reading Shakespeare's works and their responses

ODU Madrigal Singers

ODU Sacbut Consort

"Shakespeare in the Americas" at the Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries Self-Taught Gallery;

"Still Dreaming," a documentary film about elderly actors as they produce 'A Midsummer Night's Dream';

The academic conference "Shakespeare and Our Times" takes place April 14-16 at Webb University Center.

Complete details about "Shakespeare 400 Years After" can be found on the festival website.