Becca Jane St Clair

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UK Road Trip Part II: Stratford-Upon-Avon

Up bright and early for our drive out to Shakespeare’s birthplace. A friend of mine offered me her tickets to the understudy performance of Love’s Labour’s Lost, and I wanted to see Shakespeare’s birthplace, as I was disappointed we didn’t see it when we went to the UK in high school.

We managed to get 5-in-1 tickets, which gave us access to five different attractions, with admission good for an entire year! We saw Shakespeare’s birthplace, Nash’s House, and New Place, and will hopefully go back to see Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and her parent’s house.

It was amazing to be in a place steeped with so much history. The tour guide told us we were walking on the original flooring William Shakespeare himself played on as a young boy. In the attached museum, we learned all sorts of things about Shakespeare and his family…for example, his father had been the mayor of Stratford at one point, and we learned that when Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway got married she was already three months pregnant! In another building we got to see the complete works of William Shakespeare and all the different editions that had been produced, as well as what some publishers/editors changed in their editions.

Soon it was time to head to the theatre, and we had really good seats in the second tier. The understudy performance was a chance for the main actors to take a step back from their roles and allow their understudies to get some stage time in front of an audience. In some cases, the understudies were doubling up on roles and sometimes they even had to talk to each other! David Tennant (Doctor Who!) was one of the leads and we weren’t expecting to get to see him, so imagine our surprise when we were informed before the performance that he was stepping in to play the understudy’s understudy’s understudy for two small roles! The Doctor Who fangirl in me let out a few quiet squees of delight. At the end when everyone was clapping and the whole ensemble was on stage for bows, I’m fairly certain David looked over at me and grinned.

After the play we wandered around the town for a bit and I picked up some postcards and other items. There was a Crabtree and Evelyn store so I bought my aunt some rose soap (and it’s still pretty expensive even in the country it’s made in!). We had parked in a carpark, so we had to get ourselves back to it before the last bus, and started the drive to Hereford, where we had booked a hotel for the night.

After arriving and checking into the hotel, we decided to go out in search of dinner….and the town was absolutely DEAD for only being nine in the evening. We wound up over at a Fish and Chips place where I ordered a veggieburger that turned out to have onions in it, so we stopped at the Subway on the way back to the hotel and I picked up a sandwich.

Shakespeare’s birthplace

a poster of David Tennant

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