Stratford upon Avon Old-world-charm-of-Stratford.-

Stratford upon Avon Old-world-charm-of-Stratford.-

By Ann Evans

 

Photos by Rob Tysall, Tysall’s Photography.

 

 

The world celebrated 400 years of Shakespeare’s legacy this weekend. April 23rd marked the 452nd birthday of the famous playwright and the 400th anniversary of his death, both occurring on the same day. And in Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire, and the surrounding region, the weekend saw the start of a range of new exhibitions and events opening to the public.

Church of the Holy Trinity Stratford upon Avon, Visitors-to-Shakespeares-grave

Church of the Holy Trinity Stratford upon Avon,
Visitors-to-Shakespeares-grave

A major new development is the transformation of New Place by The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. New Place was Shakespeare’s family home for the last 19 years of his life. This new heritage landmark will allow visitors to discover Shakespeare at the height of his success. The re-imagination of this unique site is the single most significant Shakespearian project anywhere in the world to commemorate his legacy.

 

Visitors will be able to walk in Shakespeare’s footsteps through a new threshold on the site of his gatehouse and trace the footprint of his family home in a contemporary landscape setting. Commissioned artworks and displays will evoke a sense of family life and the 26 major works written during Shakespeare’s ownership of New Place.

Church of the Holy Trinity Stratford upon Avon,

Church of the Holy Trinity Stratford upon Avon,

A new exhibition will throw light on Shakespeare the family man, home owner and successful entrepreneur, featuring rare and important artefacts relating to his life at New Place, many of them on display for the first time.

 

Visitors to Stratford will also now be able to visit Shakespeare’s Schoolroom & Guildhall. This follows a major restoration project at King Edward VI, the school that the young William Shakespeare attended as a boy. This opens as a heritage attraction of international significance.

Shakespeare's birthplace, Stratford Upon Avon,

Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford Upon Avon,

Visitors will be able to experience the place, not far from his Birthplace, where Shakespeare was educated and inspired to become the world’s greatest playwright, and to learn of the extraordinary history of the building and the civic history of the town.

 

For theatre-goers, The Royal Shakespeare Company’s season includes productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, Cymbeline, Doctor Faustus, Don Quixote and The Alchemist.

Church of the Holy Trinity Stratford upon Avon, hakespeares-burial-place

Church of the Holy Trinity Stratford upon Avon, hakespeares-burial-place

A major new exhibition, The Play’s The Thing, will open in June in The Swan Theatre front of

house areas. It will celebrate the magic of Shakespeare on stage and reveal the secrets and

stories from 100 years of theatre-making in Stratford-upon-Avon.

 

The Other Place is the RSC’s research and development hub, and home to the Company’s new studio theatre, rehearsal rooms and costume store and café bar. This reopens in April and a new discovery tour will take visitors on a journey from Page to Stage, from the first day of rehearsals to the first performance, with an opportunity to look inside the RSC’s store of 30,000 costumes for

the very first time.

Church of the Holy Trinity Stratford upon Avon,  Statue-of-Shakespeare-Holy-Trinity-Chuch.

Church of the Holy Trinity Stratford upon Avon,
Statue-of-Shakespeare-Holy-Trinity-Chuch.

The RSC has commissioned a brand new self-guided tour to mark the anniversary. Shakespeare Steps invites people to follow in the Bard’s footsteps. The free self-guided tour, which involves eight locations, will run alongside Stratford’s historic spine. At each stop visitors can follow footsteps and speech bubbles painted on pavements that work as instructions for acting out mini dramas. The tour is available from 23 April and a free map is also available to guide visitors, give them historical background and features a treasure hunt challenge for children. Shakespeare Steps starts at Shakespeare’s Birthplace and other locations include Shakespeare’s New Place, Guildhall, and Holy Trinity Church before finishing at the RST.

Church of the Holy Trinity Stratford upon Avon,

Church of the Holy Trinity Stratford upon Avon,

Visitors can even meet Shakespeare in person! William will guide visitors along the beautiful streets past wonderful old buildings whilst relating tales of his life and works. From birth to grave, he will

take visitors through his life history and the town in the 16th century. Tours take place every

Saturday and holidays at 2pm from Tudor World in Sheep Street.

 

Plus of course, there are the Shakespeare houses and gardens to explore. So as well as Shakespeare’s Birthplace, and New Place, there’s Mary Arden’s Farm, Ann Hathaway’s cottage, Halls Croft and Havard House.

 

So, plenty going on in and around Stratford-upon-Avon and the surrounding areas this year. For more details, and admission prices and opening times visit: http://www.shakespeare.org.uk

Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford upon Avon,

Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford upon Avon,

 

 

 

 

About Ann Evans

Feature writer and award winning author, Ann Evans has more than 22 books published for children, young adults, reluctant readers and adults. Never content to write one thing at a time, she always has at least half a dozen different writing projects on the go. She worked for 13 years on the Coventry Telegraph as a feature writer and currently writes for a number of different magazines, in print and on-line. Ann is also a writing tutor running classes for adults and doing author school visits throughout the UK. Ann decided to put her years of writing experience together in her book Become A Writer – a step by step guide. Amazon link:http://www.amazon.co.uk/Become-Writer-Step-Guide/dp/1907670246 Blogs:http://annsawriter.blogspot.com