Paper ticket for Shakespeare's Jubilee

Paper ticket for Shakespeare's Jubilee

In September 1769 the actor-manager David Garrick organised the Stratford Jubilee to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth (actually Shakespeare had been born 205 years before and in April not September). An octagonal wooden amphitheatre, the rotunda, was built for the occasion, in imitation of the Globe Theatre. The event started well, but on the second day, it poured with rain and the planned procession of Shakespearean characters was cancelled. The celebrations included a masquerade, fireworks, horse races, but not so much as a scene from an actual play. The event did come in for considerable criticism and was seen by some as commercialisation for profit. The Jubilee did increase the industry in Shakespeare ‘relics’ – numerous pairs of his gloves magically appeared on the market and tiny chips cut from what was claimed to be his chair sold for a shilling apiece.

This printed paper ticket reads: 'Shakespears Jubilee, the 6th and 7th of September, at Straford upon Avon. This ticket admits one on the 6th to The Oratoria, The Dedication Ode, The Ball and to the Great Booth at the Fireworks. One Guinea.' The ticket is numbered No 335 and is signed and sealed by Garrick.