THE MONOPOLY board will soon be instantly recognisable to Stratfordians.
Stratford-upon-Avon has won its very own version of the world famous board game after seeing off rival towns and cities in a public vote – including neighbouring Warwick and Leamington, and also Gloucester and Shrewsbury.
And now townsfolk are being challenged to fill the squares on the board – ‘as they would like it’, to adapt the words of one former resident – with locations in and around Stratford. So it could be goodbye Old Kent Road and hello Birmingham Road.
The Chance and Community Chest playing cards will also be customised – such as, Advance to Bancroft Gardens If you Pass “Go” collect £200.
And there will also be special playing pieces – such as possibly a quill.
Natasha Rebuck, games development executive at Winning Moves UK, which will make the Stratford version under license from Monopoly owners Hasbro, told The Observer: “Stratford-upon-Avon is on the world tourist map and has an abundance of great landmarks from all things Shakespeare – Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Ann Hathaway’s Cottage and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
“Of course the town has lots of other splendours and delights from the Holy Trinity Church, the picturesque racecourse and the River Avon – so we expect to be absolutely sure we will be spoilt for choice.”
The victory has created much excitement in the town.
Karen Wild, manager of Stratforward, said: “This is fantastic news. Anything that promotes Stratford to new and exciting audiences should be applauded.
“And, as Monopoly, like Stratford, is a truly iconic world-wide brand it seems a perfect partnership – particularly in this special year for Stratford.
“It is vital for the long-term sustainability of this beautiful town that it continues to attract and grow the number of visitors that come here. What is particularly exciting about this project is that it will hopefully help raise the profile of a whole clutch of different attractions in town that perhaps are not currently on the top of a tourist to see list.
“All too often our members tell us that they feel people rush in and out of town to do one job or visit one attraction. One of our priorities is to try to encourage visitors to spend more time here – and therefore more money. Every additional hour we can get people to spend here and every additional pound spent is crucial to the survival of our local business community and every local person it employs.”
Stratford District Council chairman Mike Gittus was looking forward to seeing Stratford join the likes of Las Vegas and Sydney with their own version of the iconic game.
He added: “Even more exciting is the fact that Stratford-upon-Avon will now have a say in helping choose the landmarks used in this very special edition.”
The Stratford version of the game is set to be in the shops by October.
To vote for where and what appears on the board go to firstname.lastname@example.org or via the official Stratford-upon-Avon Monopoly Facebook page at www.facebook.com/stratforduponavonmonopoly
Or by traditional post to Monopoly Stratford-Upon-Avon edition, Winning Moves UK, 7 Praed Street, London W2 1NP. 2 1NP.