Stratford-Upon-Avon is a magical place to visit all year around, but this Christmas Shakespeare’s Birthplace is lighting up for Christmas. The whole building is becoming one big light display, with a changing illuminations four times each evening. Alongside this live actors bring the illuminations to light by speaking to the crowd through the windows.
The new light show has been developed by digital artist, Anthony Head, who has extensive experience of working with projections on historical buildings. Anthony aims to explore the text and texture of Shakespeare across four themes, combining the words of Shakespeare with 16th century music and patterns. Spectators can watch four shows played on rotation every evening, each on a different theme lasting about five minutes each. They also include dramatic performances by Shakespeare Aloud!, the resident acting troupe at Shakespeare’s Birthplace.
In between displays you can wander around the light installations in the garden behind the house itself. The garden illuminations created by spatial designer, Emily Knight and they put Shakespeare’s words up in lights. In fact, we took the chance to arrive a bit early and went around the birthplace before it closed for the day. Despite the fact that we live reasonably close, I don’t think I’ve been around for years. H had certainly never visited and in fact, we couldn’t be sure whether we had ever taken him to Stratford before. The birthplace is well worth a visit as it brings history to life. There are guides in the rooms, plus even an actor reciting parts of the plays. It really brought history to life and we came away with a real sense of life in the house during Shakespeare’s time. I have come home with a boy who is enthused about Shakespeare and his plays and he is very eager to find out more about Henry V in particular.
Each of the four themed light shows lasts about 5 or 10 minutes, which is a nice length for small children. However, as the show obviously needs to be after dark, younger children might get tired by the end of the show at 6pm. It’s a great way to break up the Christmas shopping in the town and it really brings the building to life.
The Birthplace Lightshow will be shown at Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Henley Street every evening from Friday 28th November until Sunday 14th December 2014 at 4.30pm, 5.00pm, 5.30pm and 6.00pm. Entrance to the Birthplace gardens illuminations is free of charge in between shows.