Shakespeare was lucky. His genious writing skills did not go unrecognized during his career. Most writers and artists were struggling to survive and they were only celebrated after they were dead. As time progressed communication improved and people gathered to visit Shakespeare's home at Stratford-upon-Avon in England. At the time his fans had a bright idea: a celebration of Shakespeare's life should be held annually and his plays should be staged to pay tribute to his literary career. This enthusiasm inspired Stratford's first theatre on Chapel Lane in 1827. A three-day festival of celebrations was organized in 1830. Starting on the poet's birthday, the extravagant celebrations lasted for 12 days. A pavillion was erected for the festivities with galleries, an orchestra and a stage. In 1874 the Shakespeare Memorial Association was founded. Charles Edward Fowler, the founder, believed that the only proper place for Shakespeare's theatre was in Shakespeare's native town. From then until now Stratford has an annual festival highlighting Shakespeare's plays.
A century ago only 6 000 people a year would visit Shakespeare's hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon. Today the number has reached 350 000. Over half of these visitors are from overseas. Shakespeare has become so internationally recognized that his plays have been performed in many countries: Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Holland, Poland, Japan, Canada and the United States of America. The academic element of Shakespeare's work has been studied by scholars around the world. For the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth, Stratford-upon-Avon celebrated on a very grand scale. The festival contained involved music, poetry, lectures, films and folk dancing.
Even in Canada, Shakespeare's career inspired a town in Ontario named after his birth place. The town, called Stratford, holds its annual festival much like the one in England.