April 6th

In September of 1769, David Garrick ventured north from London’s Drury Lane Theater to Stratford-upon-Avon to organize a festival–the Shakespeare Jubilee–commemorating the dramatist who had proved so central to his career. “Shakespeare! Shakespeare! Shakespeare!,” exclaimed and repeated, offered Garrick a simple enough motto for the Shakespeare Jubilee, which culminated in the dedication of a new town hall and a statue of Stratford’s most celebrated citizen.

Hoping to enhance the celebrations, Garrick brought with him the Drury Lane Theater’s choir and orchestra to play their songs throughout the Jubilee–the sheet music is pictured below–but especially for a crowning moment of the festival, when Garrick, standing on top of a rotunda beside the river Avon, read aloud “Ode Dedicating a Building and Erecting a Statue to Shakespeare.”

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