10th Dec, 2016

Following in Shakespeare's footsteps around Stratford

Stratford Editorial 18th Dec, 2015 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

PEOPLE are being offered the chance to follow in the footsteps of Shakespeare.

The RSC has commissioned a brand new free self-guided tour to mark the 400th anniversary of the bard’s death next year. Shakespeare Steps has been devised by Birmingham-based theatre company Stan’s Cafe.

The tour, which involves eight locations, will run alongside Stratford’s historic spine.

At each stop visitors can follow footsteps and speech bubbles painted on pavements that work as instructions for acting out mini dramas.

The tour is inspired by Shakespeare’s Seven Ages of Man speech from As You Like It and brings to life aspects of Shakespeare’s plays, his life in Stratford and historical facts about the town.

The tour launches on January 30 and a free map will also be available to guide visitors, give them historical background and will also feature a treasure hunt challenge for children.

In association with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall and supported by the Stratford Society and Guild Chapel – Shakespeare Steps starts at Shakespeare’s Birthplace.

Some of the locations include Shakespeare’s New Place, Guildhall, and Holy Trinity Church before finishing at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

Installation will start in early January and non-toxic, biodegradable paint will be used for all illustrations.

RSC events manager Louisa Davies said: “Shakespeare Steps is a great way for people to enjoy exploring the town where Shakespeare was born, educated and is buried in an interactive playful way, throughout the 400th anniversary year.

“Visitors can cast themselves in this DIY theatre game, act out scenes, and discover fun and quirky facts about Stratford along the way.”

James Yarker, Artistic Director at Stan’s Cafe, was delighted to be have been asked to create Shakespeare Steps. He said: “Shakespeare’s life, his plays and his connection to Stratford are such rich sources, our challenge was how to compress as much as possible into just eight miniature scenes.

“There are lots of quotations and historical references for people to find in the scenes. They are designed so they can be enjoyed by passers-by but they only fully come alive when people start playing with them, putting their feet in the character’s footprints and puzzling out the action, ideally with a friend or two.

“We hope that people will have fun with Shakespeare Steps and that for the year it is here it enhances people’s enjoyment and is an accessible way into families learning more about this amazing town.”