THE SHAKESPEARE Birthplace Trust is offering people the chance to find out all about future plans for New Place.
Open drop-in sessions will be taking place at Stratford ArtsHouse on Tuesday and Wednesday (August 19 and 20), from 8.30am to 6.30pm, and again on Saturday August 30, from 11am to 2pm.
The Trust aims to tell the missing story of Shakespeare’s mature years as a writer and citizen of Stratford – the husband, father, and successful businessman who owned the town’s largest residence for 19 years.
For the first time in four centuries, visitors will literally walk in Shakespeare’s footsteps through the entrance and be taken on an imaginative journey through his life and works.
Key elements of the project are set to include:
* a new entrance based on location of the original gatehouse and an evocation of the footprint of Shakespeare’s family home in a new garden setting.
* urgent, essential conservation work to Nash’s House including the creation of a new exhibition centre where rare and important artefacts relating to New Place can be displayed, many of them for the first time.
* a viewing platform and modern fully-accessible visitor facilities including space for informal learning and family activities.
* a programme of activities, events, community engagement and new opportunities for staff, volunteers and apprenticeships.
* fresh interpretation in the Great Garden and conservation of the Knot Garden.
The Trust is seeking funding to support the £5.25 million project, with the aim of opening the new-look New Place for the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 2016.
Next week’s drop-in sessions will enable people to find out more details of the proposals.
Julie Crawshaw, Project Manager at the Trust, said: “We have consulted extensively with hundreds of individuals and many organisations over the past 12 months. In response to feedback on our initial concepts we have worked up a fresh approach.
“There is still a lot to do but we want to update on our progress as we continue to refine our plans to secure the long term survival of this unique site at the heart of the story of Shakespeare and Stratford.”
Dr Diana Owen, Director of the Trust, said the transformation of New Place would also provide a further boost to the town’s economy.
She added: “Our Shakespearian heritage is a cornerstone of the tourism sector which employs one in eight people and pumps £335 million into the local economy in Stratford district alone.
“The next chapter at New Place can only strengthen that economy and all the jobs that rely on it in future. We look forward to discussing our plans with everyone with an interest in this exciting project in the coming weeks.”
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust aims to tell the missing story of Shakespeare’s mature years in the new-look New Place. (s)