Stratford, Shakespeare and the Scottish Play!

So, what do you think the letter for this week’s Alphabe- Thursday is? Maybe ‘F’? What about ‘B’?

No, of course – you can see from the title that it is the letter ‘S’.

Stratford-on-Avon is a favourite place of ours. We went there for our honeymoon many years ago and have visited regularly since. It lies in the heart Warwickshire and is home to all things Shakespearean. You can visit his home, his school, his wife’s house and see many of the artefacts connecting the huge library of work that has influenced language world-wide for centuries.

At the centre of the town is the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. It has recently undergone a three and a half year complete refurbishment costing nearly £113 million! Unless you visited the ‘old’ theatre you would not see the amazing transformation that has changed a traditional theatre of ‘audience facing a stage’ into an intimate ‘thrust stage’ which literally goes out into the audience similar  to a cat-walk arrangement.

We recently saw ‘Macbeth’ which is referred to by superstitious actors as the Scottish play. There is a belief that it is very unlucky to say it’s name (rather like Vodemort in Harry Potter!) and for that reason it is not often performed.

Shakespeare’s first plays were performed in a theatre called the Globe and a replica of that building has been built on the banks of the Thames across from St Paul’s cathedral. We were lucky to visit and took the tour which was very enlightening. Not for that audience a fancy chrome and glass structure but a wooden circular open-air space where you stood to watch the performers (unless you were members of the gentry or even Queen Elizabeth 1 who was known to like to watch and for whom many of the plays were written).

Globe Theatre LondonIf you are among my American readers, do put both of these theatres on your bucket lists. If you are in the UK, do try to go because it is a truly wonderful experience of something quintessentially English!

Do pop over to Jenny Matlock’s wonderful blog to see other ‘S’ entries!

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