THERE will be no tinsel or trees in sight at the home of the Shakespeares this Christmas.
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford is looking to bring back the traditions of a Tudor and Jacobian Christmas this December with a series of intimate candlelit tours to explore Shakespeare’s Birthplace and experience how the Bard himself may have celebrated Christmas during his childhood.
Acting curator Emily White said: “We sometimes forget just how many traditions at Christmas come from the Victorians, when Shakespeare was growing up there wouldn’t have been Christmas trees or decorations as we know them today.
“Instead, it was a more reflective and religious festival, which took place over many weeks. The Shakespeares could well have dressed their home with winter greenery including Mistletoe and Holly and you may well have smelt the familiar aromas of mace, nutmeg and even cinnamon.”
It is the break with modern traditions that SBT is keen to share with visitors over festive period and enjoy a special guided tour of Shakespeare’s Birthplace after dark, lit only by candle light, as it would have been during the playwright’s lifetime.
Costumed guides will share stories of festive traditions of the period alongside the history of the Henley Street house and its influence on the development of the world’s most famous writer. The house will also be decked in decorations that would have been appropriate for the time of year in the late 16th century.
Attendees will be using no-heat digital candles that emit the same light as if they are a real candle throughout their tour of the timber-framed building.
Before the special tour of birthplace, guests will be greeted with a warming welcome drink of mulled cider or apple juice, made from apples recently harvested at Mary Arden’s Farm. They will also be treated to festive mince pie, which SBT have promised will not include the traditional Tudor-age ingredient of boiled beef mince but modern sweet mincemeat.
Visit www.shakespeare.org.uk/visit/whats-on/candlelit-christmas for full details.