Posts Tagged ‘Stratford upon Avon’

We took our two daughters to their first Shakespeare in 2008 – Taming of the Shrew in Stratford – for my 40th birthday.  Since then, we have continued to gently expose them to a little Shakespeare at a time.  Last year it was A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest (both RSC productions) and As you like it (at The Globe) and this weekend was the RSC’s current production of Twelfth Night.

For my 12-year-old daughter who studied The Tempest last year and who is now studying Twelfth Night, the plays are giving her an added insight and understanding into what she is learning at school.  For my 11-year-old daughter who is about to start learning about A Midsummer Night’s Dream, much of what she has seen has been about spectacle and you can’t get better than the RSC for visual richness, diversity and pure entertainment.

I asked her to write for the blog about her experience of the Family workshop and production of Twelfth Night:

Twelfth Night - image by Ellie Kurttz

On Saturday 20th February, my mum and dad took my sister and myself to the Duke of York theatre to see Twelfth Night. I am only 11 years old, in Year 6, and I have not read the play, although my sister is studying it in English. We went to a family workshop at 11am, where the actor who plays Feste, Miltos Yerolemou, the actress who is the understudy to Viola, Maya Wasowicz, and a lady from the RSC who organises events, showed us how the lighting and sound effects could completely change the mood, place and time of the scene, without the actual set being changed. Then they got nine of us to volunteer to go up on stage and act out the play as they explained it to us. I played the part of Viola, or Cesario, and I really enjoyed it!!!!!!!

The matinee was at 2pm. I found the Shakespearian language a little hard to understand, so I found the workshop helped me a lot, as I could understand better what was going on, even if I couldn’t make head nor tail of the words spoken!!! I found that the rooftop scene, with Feste, Sir Andrew Aguecheek and Sir Toby Belch was really funny and enjoyable. I was aching with laughter at the scene where Malvolio (Richard Wilson, Gaius in Merlin) finds the letter, and Sir Toby Belch, Fabian and Sir Andrew Aguecheek are in the tree. But I almost fell off my seat in hysterics when I saw Malvolio in yellow stockings and cross garters!!!

I totally loved it, and I was very disappointed when it was over. I was the only one in the audience standing up when we were clapping, and as we were in the fifth row back, I got a special smile from all the actors!!

By Samantha Nead

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Germaine Greer once famously complained that there was nowhere in Stratford to get a decent breakfast. As a Stratford resident and a worker-from-home (and therefore in need of regular distraction), I’d really have to beg to differ.

Saturday mornings are my favourite time for a leisurely cup of coffee, a newspaper and of course, a really excellent bacon sandwich. It’s also market day, which means that my favourite cafe – McKechnies on the market square at Rother Street – is usually crammed with people who know how delicious their breakfasts are. The cafe prides itself on using only local ingredients and their thick sliced granary toast is a treat, as are their soft, white rolls stuffed with sausage, bacon, egg or tomato. Heaven.

Brunch at Vintners on Sheep Street is legendary and a real indulgence, especially creamy scrambled eggs on toast – with smoked salmon if you’re feeling really decadent.  Vintners’ coffee is a proper, heady Italian brew that really sets you up for the day. Or there’s Bensons, in the arcade off Henley Street, where the cakes and pastries defy description and champagne is an optional extra. Or a little later, the Bancroft Gardens tearoom near the river serves some of the best cakes in town.

Before the building work began one of my favourite places to sit with a cuppa was the riverside cafe at the theatre, watching the ducks go by. One of the best things about seeing the new theatre almost finished is the thought that, come next year, the cafe with the best view in town will be back.

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