VIDEO: Bury St Edmunds celebrates St George, his dragon and the Bard

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The intermittent bad weather has not dampened the festivities in Bury St Edmunds today.

As well as honouring the death of St George – it is St George’s Day after all – activities have been taking place to mark the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s passing.

St George and his dragon in Bury St Edmunds

St George and his dragon in Bury St Edmunds

Youngsters have been taking photographs with St George and his dragon and have been receiving swords made from balloons, while elsewhere crowds have been enjoying lively performances of two Shakespeare plays.

“It’s been lovely, really, really wonderful,” said Helen Stratton, of Bury.

“There’s been a really good atmosphere around the town today,” she added.

Tracey Scarle’s husband, Nigel, went to the East Anglian Beer and Cider Festival at The Apex so she was spending the day shopping with her daughter and two grandchildren.

Of their reaction to seeing St George, Tracey, of Earsham, said: “They were so excited to see him and just had to say hello.”

Bury students Harriet Ashton and Adrian Seeley have been bringing Shakespeare’s work to life by performing excerpts from The Taming of the Shrew and Much Ado About Nothing.

Alex Huggins, of Bury, said: “It was very funny, very comic and they had great comic timing, and it was really nice to come upon something like that in the market.”

Hilary Bassendine also enjoyed the shows but said she would have liked to see more of each play.

Director Georgina Stone, educational officer at the Theatre Royal, said today’s events were being staged to whet the appetite of people ahead of the theatre’s Shakespeare festival in September.

“We just wanted to say hello to everybody and let them know there’s more on the way,” she said.

She added: “We wanted to mark the occasion and make it accessible – Shakespeare was for the people, people knocking about on the weekend and going to see a show, so we’re marking that.”

Harriet, a student of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), said: “Everyone’s really been getting into the spirit of it. It’s been such a fun day.”

Adrian, a musical theatre student at West Suffolk College, said: “It’s been nice getting so much support.”

Mark Cordell, chief executive of business improvement district Ourburystedmunds, said: “It’s been an opportunity for the town to celebrate St George’s Day and we’re delighted that our businesses and the market stalls got involved by flying the flags and, as it’s also the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, we teamed up with the Theatre Royal who have had a couple of actors performing around the town. It’s been very popular.”