Shakespeare’s Schoolroom & Guildhall – Shakespeare’s Schoolroom & Guildhall is an excellent experience for young and old alike. Even without the addition of Shakespeare the building has a fascinating history and played an integral role in Stratford upon Avon’s story. You’ll begin learning about the guildhall, this was the place where the aldermen convened and made the decisions that determined the towns future. It tells of the many issues that arose during the continuous change of religious climate that took place during the Tudor period. Religious paintings that were later white washed tell us the importance of faith in society and how connected it was to the laws and decisions of a town. The construction of the building is covered here and you’ll be told about all the efforts that went into building this wonderful place.
Once you’ve covered the importance of the guildhall, you’ll head upstairs to what was once the schoolroom, complete with a volunteer playing a fairly convincing schoolmaster that tells you all about school in the 1500s. Not only will you cover the basics, things like how a class was taught, what a student would need to be prepared for a day of teaching and the fundamentals of a 16th century curriculum but also exactly what William Shakespeare was taught whilst learning here. It was the classic Roman literature and history here that fascinated Shakespeare and went on to inspire many of his plays.
Holy Trinity Church – The Church of the Holy Trinity here in Stratford upon Avon would have played a key roll on the life of the Shakespeare family. It was the place in which he was baptized and he visited every week from a young boy, to later when he returned home from his work in London. It is also the place in which he was laid to rest after his death in the year 1616. He is buried in the grand chancel of the church, Shakespeare’s funerary monument sits beside it, fixed to the wall. His wife Anne and his daughter Susanna are also buried beside him. Each grave is lovingly marked in a fit testament to a man who clearly loved his home, as well as his family.
Royal Shakespeare Theatre – This is the one place on the list that Shakespeare would have never set foot in. That being said it is likely you will not find a place in Stratford that better represents his career than the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. The theatre first opened its doors in 1932, though it has seen major redevelopments since. You’ll find a variety of plays here today, ranging from classic Shakespeare to original pieces. What’s so great about this place is the layout of the theatre itself, it’s set up as a one-room theatre, which means that the audience share the same space as the actors. This is intended to align with a more traditional approach to Shakespeare’s works. Often the Royal Shakespeare Company will trial new shows here which means not only will you be the first to see the next big hits but also be able to see some of the finest acting in current theatre, something I’m sure any true Shakespeare fan will delight in.