“We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep. And lo, for advance bookings, 10% off breakfast the next morning.”
OK, so we might have sneaked that last bit in ourselves. But it’s the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death this year, and we can all be forgiven a little writerly indulgence. The locals certainly aren’t holding back in his hometown. If you’re planning on visiting YHA Stratford-upon-Avon yourself, here are the year’s highlights.
The Royal Shakespeare Theatre:
Stratford’s showpiece playhouse has 2016 performances of Hamlet (until 13 Aug), Cymbeline (29 Apr – 15 Oct), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (15 Jun – 16 Jul), King Lear (20 Aug – 15 Oct) and The Tempest (from 8 Nov).
The Other Place:
Reopened in March, this 200-seat theatre has now been fully redeveloped.
The town always stages celebrations around the Bard’s birthday in April, but the remainder of the year holds plenty too. Key dates include the family-friendly Stratford River Festival on 2-3 July, a mass picnic at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage on 23 July and a poetry festival between 22-25 September.
This autumn sees the opening of a major new exhibition in the Swan Reading Room. ‘The Play’s The Thing’ focuses on props, costumes and set designs over the years – pre-booking tickets is highly advised.
Shakespeare’s Birthplace is an obligatory visit, but you can also now see the playwright’s last home at the recently renovated New Place, as well as his former schoolroom – open to the public for the first time.