Festival of Love to Include Reading of All 154 Shakespearean Sonnets; Simon Russell Beale and Harriet Walter to Participate

As part of London's Southbank Centre's Festival of Love, Simon Russell Beale and Harriet Walter will lead a complete reading of all 154 Shakesparean sonnets. This event will also mark Shakespeare's 450th birthday.

The Festival of Love will run June 28-Aug. 31, and is being created together with hundreds of artists, communities and partners.

In a press statement Jude Kelly, artistic director of Southbank Centre, commented, "This summer’s Festival is both a celebration of love, commemorating the recent legislation and the human right for everyone to marry their partner of choice, and an in-depth look at different variations of love and the complexities of relationships. It is also inspired by our belief that love can change the world as invoked by political activists throughout history including Martin Luther King Jr., Aung San Suu Kyi, Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi who have maintained that love is the greatest agent for change. The Festival will be a place for artists and visitors to experience many different cultural responses to love, and ask what it means to love and discuss love’s place in society today."

The festival will culminate in the Big Wedding Weekend, Aug. 30-31. Up to 20 couples will be able to marry or renew their vows together in a number of communal ceremonies across the two days in the Royal Festival Hall in front of their guests, followed by celebratory entertainment around the building and an evening disco on The Clore Ballroom. There will also be an option for all couples and their parties to eat together at a large wedding breakfast.

Ahead of the Festival itself, from May 30-June 1, On Love: A Weekend Celebrating Two Love Classics will usher in a whole summer of thinking about love with dramatizations of two of the greatest works ever written about love: Plato’s Symposium and Shakespeare’s sonnets.

For further details, visit www.southbankcentre.co.uk.