Family, admirers celebrate Shakespeare at 450

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"Suzana and Shakespeare have the same home town," said Scott Kirk, explaining why he and his wife, Janeidi, moved from Brazil to Stratford-upon-Avon in England last April.

That's the little town where their daughter, Suzana Araujo Kirk, was born on Dec. 17 a few blocks from the house where William Shakespeare was born 450 years ago on April 23.

Shakespeare's sister Joan is Suzana's great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother. Mr. Kirk and about 300 others related to Joan are the only people alive today who have family ties to Shakespeare.

"That makes Shakespeare Suzana's uncle, 14 generations later," said Mr. Kirk with a laugh. He wanted his daughter to share a birthplace with Shakespeare, but the family didn't plan to live in England for long. The Kirks returned to the United States last month to live in Boca Raton, Fla., where Suzana's mom is in school.

"We'll have a little candle for Shakespeare for his birthday," he said. "Suzana can help us blow it out."

The British Broadcasting Corporation estimates that nearly half of the world's 1.9 billion children age 14 and younger will at some point study Shakespeare in school, or see his plays on television or at the movies, or read about him and his plays in books and even in comic books and manga. Shakespeare has been translated into every living language on Earth, the BBC says.

One of the best places to celebrate Shakespeare is at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, a world-famous research center on Shakespeare, with lots of books and other materials from Shakespeare's time. The Folger also has a theater built to look like the ones Shakespeare knew centuries ago.

Scott Kirk doesn't hesitate to use one of his ancestor's famous lines to explain why he made the temporary move to England.

"All the world is a stage, you know," he said, quoting from the play "As You Like It." "Now little Suzana can play her part."


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