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Shakespeare’s 400 Celebrations



his year the world celebrates 400 years of William Shakespeare’s legacy, especially on April 23, the date on which he was born and died. Four centuries after the Bard of Avon’s death, Shakespeare’s England, the tourist organization for Stratford-uponAvon and the surrounding area where Shakespeare was born, raised, lived and died, is gearing up for some special new exhibitions and events.

They include a new immersive theatrical experience at the Royal Shakespeare Company; a reimagining of Shakespeare’s final home, New Place, and Shakespeare’s Schoolroom will open for the first time to the general public. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has transformed New Place, the site of Shakespeare’s family home in Stratford-uponAvon for the last 19 years of his adult life, to create a new heritage landmark where visitors can discover Shakespeare at the height of his success. 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 evoke a sense of family life and the 26 major works written during Shakespeare’s ownership of 12

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New Place. A new exhibition throws light on Shakespeare the family man, homeowner and successful entrepreneur, featuring rare and important artefacts relating to his life at New Place, many of them on display for the first time. The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC)’s season includes productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, Cymbeline, Doctor Faustus, Don Quixote and The Alchemist. A major new exhibition, The Play’s The Thing, opens in June in The Swan Theatre front of house areas. It celebrates 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. It reopens in April and a new discovery tour takes 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. As part of the annual Birthday Celebrations on April 23, the RSC offers a fun-packed day of free outdoor events for all the family, including a breath taking show by acrobatic company, Mimbre, inspired by Shakespeare’s stories. The day ends with a spectacular free firework display.

A major restoration project has made the ambitious vision of the Trustees of King Edward VI School, the school which William Shakespeare attended in Stratford-uponAvon, possible. Shakespeare’s Schoolroom & Guildhall will open as a heritage attraction of international significance in April. Visitors can 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. Built between 1418 - 20, the Guildhall, described by historian and broadcaster, Michael Wood, as ‘one of the most atmospheric, magical and important buildings in the whole of Britain’, was last renovated in the 1890s. The restored building has new interactive displays, filmed performances, a Tudor lesson and an 18th century classroom to bring Shakespeare’s story to life. With over 400 years of involvement in the social and religious aspects of the town, including Shakespeare’s father’s leading role in the council – there are plenty of stories to uncover. The RSC has commissioned a brand new self-guided tour to mark the anniversary. Shakespeare Steps invites people to follow in the footsteps of the world’s most famous playwright. The free self-guided tour, which involves eight locations, runs alongside

The American Magazine March-April 2016 Issue 750  

The leading cross-media publication for Americans in the UK - and anyone interested in American culture

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