Visitors will be treated to the story of Not Just William by Tell-Tale Presents, which takes young William on an adventure on what started out to be a not so happy birthday. However, a magical encounter changes all of this, and illuminates story ideas that prove inspirational to the young writer in a telling that all the family will enjoy.
When it opened in 2016, on the exact day of the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, Shakespeare’s Schoolroom & Guildhall did so to huge acclaim from historians, academics and, most importantly, those living in and visiting Stratford-upon-Avon. Since this time it has continued to grow the number of visitors that it attracts, regionally, nationally and internationally, with the fascinating story of the world’s greatest playwright and the immersive experience that it offers really gripping the imagination of visitors of all ages.
The small team of full time staff, supported by a wonderful group of volunteers, has organised various art events, author workshops, exhibitions and more during the past two years, so visitors can explore the different chapters of history of this Tudor Grade I listed building.
Thanks also to its fantastic team, Shakespeare’s Schoolroom & Guildhall won the 2017 Best Visitor Attraction Award in the Coventry & Warwickshire Culture Awards, the 2018 Team of the Year Award in the Pride of Stratford Awards and it is now ranked as number 3 on the TripAdvisor list of 101 things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Lindsay Armstrong, General Manager of Shakespeare’s Schoolroom & Guildhall, said: “We are remembering and celebrating with great pride Shakespeare’s birthday and the rich legacy that he has bestowed upon Stratford-upon-Avon. Two years on from our opening we are also delighted for all that Shakespeare’s Schoolroom contributes to the visitor experience, local schools’ education programmes and more.
“This weekend we’ll be marking this milestone with some very special storytelling, because as well as being one of Warwickshire finest touring theatre groups, Tell-Tale Presents’ director and writer, Taresh Solanki, is also known for playing the role of Master Jenkins at the Schoolroom as part of our visitor experience.”
Taresh Solanki, Director of Tell-Tale Presents, said: “I’m thrilled to be bringing Not Just William to Shakespeare’s Schoolroom, there couldn’t be a more apt place to tell our story of young William and to do so on his birthday weekend makes the occasion all the more special. We meet William on the morning of his 13th birthday, which was also the day sadly for him that he would finish school; his father’s business struggles meaning he could no longer afford the fees. But as one chapter closes, another opens and William’s work in the glove workshop sees him meeting people who share their stories, including a mischievous Warwickshire Puck! This is a tale for all ages and we look forward to bringing some story telling magic to Shakespeare’s Schoolroom & Guildhall.”
Throughout the birthday celebration weekend (21 and 22 April) Shakespeare’s Schoolroom & Guildhall will be open from 11am to 5pm, as it is each day throughout the year, with Tudor lessons, quill writing and dressing up taking place throughout. The Not Just William storytelling sessions will take place throughout the day on 21 and 22 April, the cost of which is included in the admission price.
As well as marking Shakespeare’s birthday with a free story telling event, the school will also play an important role in the traditional Birthday Celebration Parade with Bennet Carr, Headmaster of King Edward VI School, of which Shakespeare’s Schoolroom & Guildhall is still a part, leading the parade with his students. (This takes place from 10:15am on Saturday 21 April)