Page last updated at 11:20 GMT, Saturday, 26 April 2008 12:20 UK

Bard's 444th birthday celebrated

Part of the procession
Many people dressed in costume

Celebrations to mark the 444th anniversary of William Shakespeare's birth are under way in Warwickshire.

Crowds in Stratford-upon-Avon can enjoy street theatre, dancing, plays and music over the weekend marking his birth - believed to be 23 April, 1564.

Hundreds of people, including some wearing Elizabethan costumes, took part in the traditional procession on Saturday.

Floral tributes were laid on the writer's grave at Holy Trinity Church.

A spokeswoman for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, said the weekend was "a celebration, not only of the world's greatest poet and playwright but also of tradition, the arts and Stratford-upon-Avon."

A procession through the town to the church to mark his birthday was first held in 1824.

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