This is my last post written in London, so it seems appropriate to write about one of England’s greatest writers, William Shakespeare!
Where to begin when writing about ‘The Bard’?! I have spent so much time reading, studying and teaching his works that one of the biggest draw cards for coming to the United Kingdom was to visit places such as The Globe Theatre in London and his birthplace Stratford-on-Avon.
“Shakespeare’s Globe” on the south bank of the Thames is a replica of the original built very close to where it once stood. Today there are fascinating displays inside about Shakespeare’s works and his plays are still performed in the traditional theatre setting including standing room on the floor where you will get rained on if the weather isn’t great!
For more information on the exhibition, tours and performances the website can be found here.
I also went on a pilgrimage to the town of Stratford-on-Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace and where he is now buried. A little way outside the town is Anne Hathaway’s cottage, the house where Shakespeare’s wife grew up which has been lovingly restored as a museum to show how it might have looked when it was originally Newlands Farm.
An old photograph of Anne and her sisters outside the farmhouse when it was surrounded by 90 acres of farmland.
The laundry room.
The ‘Hathaway Bed’.
Funny little stairs and low doorways!
Lovely little wooden crib.
The town is of course littered with references and memorials to Shakespeare, from this ice-cream punt to the statue of the fool on the main road. If you can’t quite read it, the punt features a quote from Henry VIII; “Do you look for ICE CREAMS and TREATS here you RUDE RASCALS?”
There is also a bust of him overlooking his and Anne Hathaway’s graves.
The boots worn by Henry Irving in the 1877 production of Richard III. Notice the raised right heel which helped Irving perform Richard’s distinct limp.
I particularly liked this print “Greater Shakespeare; A Shakespearean Tube Map” inspired by the iconic London underground map by Harry Beck. Created by the Royal Shakespeare Company 2008.
The exhibition runs until 28th September 2014 and more information can be found on the Victoria and Albert Museum website. If you are interested in visiting Anne Hathaway’s Cottage in Stratford-on-Avon the website can be found here.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my Shakespeare ‘pilgrimage’ as much as I did, I will leave you with some of the Shakespeare inspired gifts I restrained myself from buying!