the weekly newsletter from Dr Ruth Weeks, Headmistress
Exploring Shakespeare's Stratford-upon-Avon
21 June 2019
On Friday 14 June, Year 8 went on an English trip to Stratford-upon-Avon. After a short walk through the quaint streets of Stratford, we arrived at the Birthplace Centre - determined not to let the rain spoil our day!
We were led out of the rain and shown a short video about Shakespeare and his influence on the world of literature and drama. We then headed through a door into a small room where a guide dressed in Tudor clothes told us what a typical Tudor house would look like and what it could tell us about living conditions during the era. She then told us that we were actually in the house owned by the neighbours of the Shakespeare family. On the other side of the wall was the house where Shakespeare was born and raised!
Next, we were taken through a narrow passageway and into Shakespeare’s home. In each room, a different guide dressed in Tudor clothes talked to us about the history of that specific room. The final room we were shown was the bedroom where it is most likely the Bard himself had been born.
To finish off, we were led outside to watch actors perform some extracts from Shakespeare’s plays, including the Seven Ages Of Man speech from As You Like It.
When we got to Mary Arden’s farm we sat down outside on the grass for a hopefully sunny picnic. Unfortunately, it started to rain – heavily! As many students as possible went into the sheltered huts and barns. However, there was not room for everyone so some students and teachers sat on carrier bags, in the rain, whilst eating soggy sandwiches! However, we did improvise and we made a cocoon of umbrellas and waterproof jackets. We felt a little like the audience at The Globe theatre during Shakespeare’s day – exposed to the elements but undaunted.
The rain did not dampen our spirits, so then we went out to explore the farm. We went around the farm where we saw all manner of lovely animals, including goats, cows, chicken, sheep, rabbits and a horse. We also saw some people dressed as if they were from Tudor times to tell us about what used to happen at Mary Arden’s farm. They told us some detailed stories about the life of Mary Arden in the 1570s, which we found very interesting.
Afterwards, we went to the gift shop and then we got back on the coach to dry off and go back to school. Despite the unseasonal weather, it was a fun and informative day
of interesting adventures in Stratford-upon-Avon.