Friday, March 10, 2017

U.K. Visit: Stratford Upon Avon

At the birthplace of Shakespeare, Stratford Upon Avon

Just after the holidays, we took a little day trip to Stratford Upon Avon, a small town that's famous for being the birthplace of Shakespeare. We got tickets to see a performance of his play, The Tempest, at the Royal Shakespeare Company. 

The town is small but charming, with lots of Tudor architecture (the buildings that are mostly white with dark timber support beams) and a river running through the center. Even if you're not there for a show, it's a nice place to walk around and you can see some famous sites, like the location of Shakespeare's home as a child, as well as the homes of some of his family and the cemetery where he was buried.

A Tudor building in Stratford

Pub in an old Tudor building

The building that holds the theater is a really interesting shape, apparently designed to look like a ship. But the most interesting feature is the theater itself, which is designed in the style of theaters from Shakespeare's day. It has multiple levels and wraps around the sides of a stage that protrudes out into the center of the room. This means that wherever you're sitting, you can see and hear the actors well. Unless you are one of the unfortunate few with a seat behind one of the support pillars - but these seats cost significantly less, so you get what you pay for.

Royal Shakespeare Company theater in Stratford

Inside the theater

The performance of the Tempest that we saw was good, although they did more special effects with projectors than I was expecting. I really liked the costume design for most of the characters though, as they tried to make everyone really look as though they'd been shipwrecked. 

After the show we walked around the town at sunset, which was especially fun close to Christmas with all the decorations still up. 

Stratford Christmas decorations

Avon river by the theater in Stratford

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