Sketch of Stratford Jubilee Booth

Sketch of Stratford Jubilee Booth

In 1769 Drury Lane’s actor-manager David Garrick organised the Stratford Jubilee to celebrate Shakespeare in the town of his birth, Stratford-upon-Avon. This octagonal rotunda was constructed for the occasion on the banks of the River Avon. Garrick had to send a team of carpenters up from London to make sure it was finished on time. The rotunda or ‘booth’, as it is called in the sketch, provided the venue for the official celebrations and grand balls that were to take place. The one event it did not house was a play by Shakespeare. Bad weather led to the cancellation of a spectacular procession of Shakespearean characters. The 2,000 strong rain-sodden audience crammed into the rotunda, which was only designed for half that number. None of Shakespeare’s work was performed, but the specially written Jubilee Oration and Garrick’s Ode to the bard cheered everyone’s spirits. The violence of their applause caused several benches to collapse.