Thespians and theatre lovers now have yet another good reason to head to Stratford-upon-Avon.

Following a two-year transformation of part of the Swan Wing, the Royal Shakespeare Company has recently opened its doors to a major new permanent exhibition that celebrates the magic of Shakespeare on stage. It starts on the ground floor of the Swan Theatre on Waterside – by the entrance to the Swan Café – and continues up to the floor above.

Entitled The Play’s The Thing, this exciting behind-the-scenes exhibition has been carefully planned over the last seven years to take you on a magical journey through 100 years of making theatre. Enjoy discovering the ideas, inspiration and amazing craft behind the work of the world’s most famous theatre company.

Bursting with rarely seen treasures from the RSC’s extensive archives, the exhibition includes weird and wonderful props, exquisite costumes and original set designs.

Numerous hands-on activities and clever use of digital technology will spark your imagination. Perhaps you fancy sitting in the director’s ‘desk’, playing Hamlet alongside actor Ewart James Walter on the interactive stage, snapping yourself in the Magic Costume Mirror or dressing up and taking part in the Quick Change Challenge.

You can also discover some of the gory details of theatre-making through the A-Z of Shakespeare’s secrets and stories, or use the story-generator to create quick and fun versions of Shakespeare’s plays.

And, as a perfect way to round off your visit, why not pop upstairs to the Rooftop Restaurant? Here you can enjoy the very best of British food accompanied by stunning views over the River Avon and Bancroft Gardens.

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