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Weeping Poles mark Shakespeare's 400th deathday
Costumed mourners march on the streets in Gdansk, Poland, to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of the english poet William Shakespeare. Piotr Wittman / AFP.

GDANSK (AFP).- Four hundred weeping Poles took to the streets on Saturday in a symbolic funeral parade to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare.

The volunteer thespians in full Elizabethan attire, weeping dramatically in Shakespeare's honour, wove through the streets of the city of Gdansk pretending to pull their hair and tear at their clothes in grief.

Dressed in sombre black with their faces painted white, they made their way to the Shakespeare Theatre, an ultra-modern building built on the site where English travelling players performed four centuries ago.

"It was difficult at the beginning to get in the mood, but after a while, when everyone was mourning, crying and shouting, it all came together," mourner Sara Warzynska told AFP.  

"You really wanted to let out all your emotions," she added.

Jerzy Limon, director of Gdansk's Shakespeare Theatre, said they had organised the "happening" to contribute to events the world over marking the death of the great British playwright. 

Some 10,000 people turned out for a parade in Shakespeare's birthplace of Stratford-upon-Avon on Saturday, while famous actors including Judi Dench and Ian McKellen were set to perform some of his most loved works.

"What makes me happy is that the theatre has gone out onto the street," said Limon.

© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

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