Phoenix Theatre is throwing William Shakespeare a surprise birthday party

The Phoenix performed William Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' last July.
Wide Eyed Studios

These days, any reason to celebrate is definitely welcomed, and that’s exactly what The Phoenix Theatre is planning on doing (virtually) this week.

The popular Chester County organization plans to throw a surprise birthday party for none other than the Bard himself, William Shakespeare, in honor of his 456th birthday this Thursday. It only makes sense for the professional theatre company, who has been hosting The Pointless Shakespeare Knowledge Challenge every weekday on Instagram (noon @phoenixtheatrepa) to lead up to the festivities this week.


“We had planned on doing a birthday party for Shakespeare in April to celebrate our apprentices. With stay at home orders in place, we didn’t want to cancel this event, but find a creative way to make it accessible and engaging for an online audience,” said Jessica Myhr Reich, Phoenix Theatre Development Director in a release. “How fun to plan an evening around a surprise birthday party for Shakespeare! And because we are doing it live, it will feel like the theater in the sense that we don’t know what will happen, and the audience will be along with us on the ride!”

According to a release, for this one-night-only event company members, apprentices and show alumni from The Phoenix Theatre will present scenes, monologues, soliloquies, sonnets and songs that highlight some of the very best work from Shakespeare to culminate a truly delightful evening for avid Shakespeare fans, or even for people with very little Shakespearean knowledge that would like to get to know the Bard a bit better. The event is also perfect for anyone that just wants to have a bit of fun and enjoy live theatre from the comfort of their home—anything in our current climate to help bring up people’s spirits is certainly welcome.

Performing the array of literary entertainment this Thursday will be some of the Phoenix’s apprentices including Emma Apple, Ryan Cassidy, Amanda Clark, Hannah Cohen, Bailey Denmark, Kelsey Hébert, Taylor Morgan, Mikey Roman, Samantha Leah Smith, Becca Stehle and Lauryn Swavely; Phoenix Theatre Resident Company Members: Marcus Barainyak, Lydia Joy Carswell, Andrés Gallardo Bustillo, Michael Hajek, Jessica Myhr and Seth Reich; and Show Alumni: Hannah Brannau, Danielle Foley, Katrina Hall, Catherine Ogden and Trina Tjersland.

A scene from Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ performed last July by The Phoenix Theatre. Wide Eyed Studios

The live event is free, but viewers can also donate to the Theatre. Half of all funds raised will go to the Phoenix, who will use the money to help continues its mission to build and inspire the community through theatrical works, and the other 50% will also be donated to the local nonprofit Chester County Food Bank, who has been providing essential services to the community during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The surprise birthday party for Shakespeare will take place Thursday, April 23, at 7 p.m. To learn more information about The Phoenix Theatre and to find the link for the event (available on the day of the show), visit

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