After a 2.5 hour journey, we arrived in the city of Stratford-upon-Avon. We divided into groups that each went on a group walk around the city, a tour of Shakespeare’s birthplace, a tour of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, and free time.
To start, we walked alongside the river Avon until we reached the Holy Trinity Church, where Shakespeare was baptized and is buried. We entered the Church and saw his grave. The graves of some of his family members, like his wife and his eldest daughter, are buried next to him. On his grave Shakespeare wrote a message telling people to never dig up his bones because if they did, he would curse them forever. Recently, x-rays of his grave showed that the skull is actually one of a woman! No one knows where his head really is! Also while in the church, we also got to listen to a beautiful choir singing.
Next, we went to Shakespeare’s birthplace. Here we got to see the remodelled house where he grew up. We saw the bedrooms of where he and his brothers slept. On the bed articles of clothing from that time period were displayed to show what he would possibly wear. After that, we entered the father’s workshop, where he created gloves. We got to smell scents that were frequent in that time period, which were manure, urine, and leather. There is a giant windowpane with signatures of all different famous people, including Charles Dickens. After seeing his house, we went out into the gardens. In the gardens we got to see actors performing scenes of different Shakespeare plays. You could ask them any Shakespeare play, and they would know it!
In between all of our different tours and activities, we had free time to go to different shops and restaurants. Today was a free lunch day, and a few of us tried fish and chips!
Our last tour was of The Other Place, a Royal Shakespeare Company theater. We watched a little video, in which the RSC staff explained how much goes into a single play. It takes 4 years just to prepare one play! We went into the rehearsal room, where the actors will practice all day with props and setting for 6 weeks before the show begins. After that, we went into the costume store, where you could costumes from all different time periods from the Romans and Greeks to much more. The guide told us about the fake blood, which tastes like toffee apples, and mustaches, sideburns, and beards, which were all handmade from yak fur. Finally, we got to go to the dressing room, where we tried on some of the silly costumes!
We all came back to Wellington to enjoy a nice dinner, as well as a staff-student cricket game!
Alejandro (Newton), Camila (Lincoln), Fabiana (Lincoln), Maria (St. Matthews), Margaret (Durham Academy), Brenda (Newton), Gabriella (Durham Academy), Sebastian (Newton), Federico (S. Matthews), Jacob (Ravenscroft), Alonso (CPB), Santiago (CPB)