A Bard for all ages: 9 fab events to celebrate Shakespeare
Feeling cultured? You will be after a weekend in gorge Stratford-upon-Avon celebrating the Bard's 458th birthday. Expect walks, talks and of course, the theatre, dah-ling.
If you live in Stratford (lucky you) then you get free entry (a whopping saving!) to Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Shakespeare’s New Place on 23 & 24 April – sorry everyone else, you have to pay (£26 for an adult ticket and £17 for kids). The celebrations this year start with a visit from ‘Mr Shakespeare’ at his birthplace before leading a parade down Henley Street.
Throughout the morning on 23 April folk and world music ensemble K’antu Ensemble will perform outside Shakespeare’s Birthplace before holding workshops in the the garden of Shakespeare’s New Place throughout the afternoon.
Fancy chilling out in a secret garden? The Dell (just next to Holy Trinity Church on Southern Lane) is being turned into a outdoor lounge. Artist Faye Claridge has worked with residents to collect memories making a living room where plants and flowers mix with furniture and lampshades and family portraits flutter in the trees ahead. Cute, right? Just drop in between midday and 3.30pm on 23 April.
Take the kids (age 6 and up) and have a go at making a puppet inspired by Eko from Out of the Deep Blue. Bring your own recycling materials to make your creation (eco points too) and extra materials will be provided. It’s free and will be held in the Swan Theatre, but make sure you book ahead.
Had a go at the puppet making workshop? Make sure you don’t miss the performance of Out of the Deep Deep Blue by Autin Dance Theatre. It’s about giant sea creature Eko being washed onto the shore and covers the issue of climate change told through dance, movement and puppeteering. It’s at 3.30pm in the Swan Gardens (outside the Swan Theatre) – no booking needed.
Peek into the rehearsal room with the RSC’s Unwrapped – when the assistant director and cast look at moments from recent plays. They give an insight into how a scene is taken off Shakespeare’s page and onto the stage. On 23 April discussions are held at the theatre and online – so stay in your pyjamas if you want to.
What better way to celebrate the Bard than watching the final two parts of his Henry VI trilogy? Catch Henry VI: Rebellion at 1.15pm then make yourself a reservation at in-house restaurant Rooftop Terrace (our review here). Eat up and catch the final installment Wars of the Roses at 7.15pm.
If getting back to nature is your thing there’s a guided walk across Welcombe Hills led by guides from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust on 24 April. Expect to learn more about how the Bard was inspired by the landscape along with more about the land’s history. The walk starts at Rowley Fields and lasts around 2 hours – book here.