Stratford-upon-Avon for Scholars
For people interested in Shakespeare and theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon holds three chief attractions. The first is obviously the Shakespeare Centre, which is right next to Shakespeare’s birthplace and which is the location where all the lectures are being held. The second attraction is the Royal Shakespeare Company’s three theatres, all three within easy walking distance from the bed and breakfast. Finally, Stratford-upon-Avon features the Shakespeare Institute. Officially, it is not affiliated with the Shakespeare Centre, but it is the University of Birmingham Shakespeare and Theatre Department (which is part of the School of English). Since Stratford-upon-Avon is so small, however, many Fellows of the Institute also get involved in the Shakespeare Centre. For anybody considering an MA or a PhD in anything to do with Shakespeare, the Elizabethan age, and/or theatre and film will find excellent facilities for academic pursuits. As the Institute caters for only about 150 students (from something like 20 nations) it offers a rather personal academic environment. The staff is very helpful and will gladly show you around and fill you in on details on the various courses.
Shakespeare Houses and Museums
Most of the houses connected with Shakespeare’s family in the Stratford-upon-Avon area are still there and retain much of their original character. The furnishings and other contents of the Shakespeare Houses form part of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s Museums collections. The Trust’s Museums Department is responsible for the acquisition, care, and presentation of the rare early furnishings, domestic items, paintings, and textiles from the Elizabethan and Stuart period, as well as other museum collections displayed in the Shakespeare Houses. In addition to items on display, the Museums Department also holds reserve collections, which may be viewed by appointment. Each of the Shakespeare Houses is set in beautiful gardens and grounds and welcomes visitors throughout the year. Despite the tight schedule, there will be enough time to visit the most important sites either as a group or on one’s own.