Christmas in Stratford upon Avon

Christmas is coming!

Thursday Nov 24 is the date for your diary if you want to be in Stratford upon Avon for the Christmas Lights switch-on.  Events begin at 4.30 and Father Christmas will be there of course.

The same evening sees the first of the Thursday Xmas markets which continue through December on the 1, 8, 15 and 22.

For a family show, why not get tickets for The Tempest at the RSC or Aladdin at Stratford ArtsHouse.

Also in the area, there are Xmas events at Warwick Castle, Kenilworth Castle, Ragley Hall, Compton Verney and Batsford Arboretum.  The lovely town of Shipston on Stour hosts its Victorian Evening on Dec 2.

There are plenty of ideas for Christmas shopping too – and restaurants, cafes and pubs when you need to recover!

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The Tempest at the RSC starts Nov 8

This year’s family show aims to introduce Shakespeare to young theatregoers and families with a first rate cast and some innovative stage effects.

Acclaimed actor, Simon Russell Beale, returns to the RSC after 20 years to play Prospero In a production of The Tempest directed by Artistic Director Gregory Doran.

In partnership with INTEL, the RSC is promising the use of advanced technology in a bold re-imagining of Shakespeare’s play.

Performances of The Tempest start on Nov 8 – tickets are available online.

The Stratford upon Avon Music Festival 2016

This year’s Music Festival features concerts by Lesley GarrettRonnie Scott’s All StarsThe National Youth Jazz Orchestra, The RSC Music Department, The Endellion String Quartet and pianist, Martin Roscoe.

The festival also includes a lunchtime series and various informal concerts including ‘Buy a Beer’, ‘Breakfast with Bach’ and ‘Afternoon Tea’ concert.

The programme runs from October 14 – 22 at various venues in the town.

The Rover by Aphra Benn

Reviews for ‘The Rover‘ have been excellent.  The Guardian, The Telegraph and The Stage all gave it four stars and local paper The Stratford Herald said ‘This production is a joy from start to finish’!

It runs until February 11th.

RSC – new productions announced

It’s time to book tickets for Feb – Sept 2017 as the RSC has announced its new season.

Four plays make up Shakespeare’s Rome – Julius Caesar, Coriolanus, Anthony & Cleopatra and Titus Andronicus.

The spring/summer season also includes a new play ‘The Hypocrite‘ by Richard Bean and ‘Salome‘ by Oscar Wilde.

Stratford Town Centre Food Festival

The 2016 festival will see Stratford Town Centre packed with over 100 stalls showcasing the best of local food and produce.  Highlights will include chef demonstrations, workshops and Food & Ale Trails.  Local chefs will showcase the town’s own culinary talent at the Waterside Cookery Theatre and on Sunday, acclaimed chef Jean-Christophe Novelli will be demonstrating his skills.

The festival takes place on September 23, 24 and 25 (Fri, Sat and Sun) and there is lots more info on the STRATFORWARD website.

Stratford upon Avon Poetry Festival 2016

The Stratford upon Avon Poetry Festival returns on 18-25 September for a special week long programme of exciting events and activities marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

You can browse the full event’s listings online but highlights include readings from RSC actors, an experimental evening of hip hop, poetry and performance with Birmingham based rapper Juice Aleem, an open mic evening and a poetry choir.

The Rover by Aphra Benn at the RSC

Opening on Sept 8thThe Rover by Aphra Benn is described by the RSC as ‘an anarchic restoration comedy rich with seduction, intrigue and danger’.

Aphra Benn was England’s first female professional playwright and a strong voice in early feminism.  Her play is set in the world of the South American carnival where three wandering cavaliers in exile meet three women looking for love and freedom.

With Joseph Millson playing Willmore, the play is performed in The Swan Theatre until Feb 11th.

King Lear at the RSC

Antony Sher returns to the RSC to play King Lear in a production directed by Artistic Director Gregory Doran.  If you enjoyed Paapa Essiedu‘s recent performance as Hamlet, you can see him here as Edmund as well as Stratford favourite David Troughtonas Gloucester.

King Lear runs from Aug 20 to Oct 15 before transferring to London.

Shakespeare’s Cymbeline at the RSC

Shakespeare’s Cymbeline is not often performed but there’s a rare opportunity to see it at the RSC this summer.

Described as ‘a romance of power, jealousy and a journey of love and reconciliation’, the RSC’s Cymbeline is stunningly retold for the 21st century.

Directed by Melly Still, Gillian Bevan takes the role of Cymbeline with Bethan Cullinane an Innogen.  A frustrating for the RSC, Cymbeline is played as an ineffectual queen ruling over a dystopian Britain.

The play runs until October 15th.