Bancroft Gardens, Stratford-upon-Avon, England
2016. Four hundred years have now passed since the world lost its greatest playwright on 23 April 1616. No one knows exactly how William Shakespeare died. He was just 52 at the time. Some say he died of a fever. Others say it was over drinking. And some even say it was syphilis. But what’s more important than the death of a man is his life. Which is why this statue, unveiled in April 2016 to mark the anniversary of those 400 years shows William Shakespeare as a young man. This is a dynamic man, a charismatic man, a handsome one. The type of man from whose quill the impassioned love of Romeo and Juliet, the strident and galvanising speeches of Julius Caesar and Henry V and the madcap tomfoolery of Twelfth Night flowed easily. A young man whose love of life and humanity was evident in his literary output. This statue, by American sculptor, actor and songwriter Lawrence Holofcener, is a statue of youth and vigour. What matters most is not how Shakespeare died, but that he lived. And although his words have been heard and read for centuries, this is a statue for now. For today. Young Will stands with his right arm outstretched, inviting passers-by to pose with him for a selfie. Shakespeare’s legacy lives on, and it is forever changing.