What Shakespeare means to me

PUBLISHED: 12:25 22 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:05 20 February 2013

What Shakespeare means to me

What Shakespeare means to me

Thousands of people will be descending on Stratford this month for Shakespeare's birthday celebrations but just how much do Stratford's visitors and locals know about the Bard?

Name: Lisa Geddard
Aged: 50+
Lives: Stratford-upon-Avon

To be or not to be that is the question.
(Prince Hamlet in Hamlet)

I studied Shakespeare at school and enjoyed it at the time. I went to school in Kenilworth and they brought us on a trip to see a play here at the theatre in Stratford, which makes it more interesting when you see a play rather than just studying it from a book. We used to get free tickets to see plays at the RSC because my husband worked there but unfortunately he no longer does. A Midsummer Nights Dream
is probably my favourite
Shakespeare play.

Name: Penelope Westwood
Age: 52
Lives: Stratford-upon-Avon

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears....
(Mark Antony in Julius Caesar)

My love for Shakespeare started when my mother used to take me to the theatre as a little girl and then I studied it at school and while reading English at university and now I live in Stratford, what could be better!
Im a friend of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and also a member of the RSC. I love going to the theatre and I see every production at least once and more if I can. Different productions can change your perception of a play and my favourite at any time depends what Ive seen recently and who was in it. I used to not like Merchant of Venice but saw the last production here and really enjoyed it and it changed my opinion of it.
There are so many Shakespeare lines we use all the time; youre often quoting Shakespeare more than you know and its become part of common parlance, in a way.

Name: Mailys Merarihou
Aged: 19
Lives: France but currently studying hospitality management in Stratford.

Im afraid I cant quote any lines from Shakespeare.
I didnt study Shakespeare in France but I knew about him and have been to the theatre since Ive been here in Stratford to see As You Like It and really enjoyed it.
Young people dont go to the theatre a lot now, which is a shame because I think its really important and its nice to see.

Name: Harvij Dyal
Age: 40
Lives: Coventry

To be or not to be that is the question.
(Prince Hamlet in Hamlet)

I didnt study Shakespeare at school and have never been to see a Shakespeare play. Ive only seen those that have been on the telly, but they dont count! But I can still quote some Shakespeare lines. Im very tempted to go and see a play, especially working here in Stratford as the tourism in the town is all based around him.

Name: Vicky Goodman
Age: 26
Lives: Bidford

Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo.
(Juliet in Romeo and Juliet)

I studied Romeo and Juliet when at school. I dont think I appreciated the play much then whereas, as corny as it may sound, when they released the Baz Luhrmann film starring Leonardo DiCaprio that was much better because I understood it more and really enjoyed it! I went to see Henry VIII at the RSC but cant remember a lot of what happened as I was quite young, I just recall there was a lot of brutality. My brother also had a walk-on part in Much Ado About Nothing.

Name: Dan Kemsley
Age: 35
Lives: Leamington Spa

If music be the food of love, play on.
(Duke Orsino in Twelfth Night)

I studied Shakespeare in Stratford and at Salford while doing theatre studies.
I love the tragedy of Shakespeare. I think the language really lends itself to creating tragedy.
My favourite play is Titus Andronicus, which is one of his early pieces. If you were to imagine a Quentin Tarnantino movie but in Shakespearean form 18 principal characters with only one left alive at the end and with lots of blood and gore then thats it.
I played Emperor Saturninus in Titus and remember being stabbed quite a lot and baking my new wifes sons in a pie for her to eat at the wedding feast!
I think one of the best things about Shakespeare plays in Stratford is that you get these amazing actors you see on the TV on the stage here, such as Patrick Stewart and having Dr Whos David Tennant, playing Hamlet meant thousands of people who had never been to see Shakespeare before came to see it.

Name: Pam Sewell
Age: 54
Lives: Stratford-upon-Avon

Many a good hanging prevents a bad marriage.
(Feste in Twelfth Night)

I studied Shakespeare at school, all the lightweight ones like Twelfth Night. I didnt particularly enjoy it at the time and probably appreciated most subjects after I left school.
I havent been to see a play here because I find it too expensive. I think there should be more concessions at the theatre for locals.

Name: Rebecca Hartnett
Age: 37
Lives: Stratford-upon-Avon

Alas poor Yorick, I knew you so well....
(Prince Hamlet in Hamlet)

(This is in fact this one of the most misremembered Shakespeare lines. The quote is: Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy... .)

I studied Macbeth in my last year at school and didnt really understand it at the time, it was quite hard going. People who live in Stratford are still very proud of the Shakespeare connection with the town. It draws people here and helps keep the town so nice and well maintained.

Name: Annette Haines
Age: 70
Lives: Stratford-upon-Avon

Now is the winter of our discontent. Made glorious summer by this son of York. (Richard in Richard III)

I studied Shakespeare at school and understood it and enjoyed it at the time. We studied Henry IV Parts 1 and 2. Ive been to see all the Shakespeare plays at the theatre in Stratford and my favourite is
The Merchant of Venice.

Shakespeares Birthday

The parade
The big event is the procession on Saturday 24th April which starts at 10.40am in Henley Street. Tel: 01789 204016 or visit www.shakespeare.org.uk/birthday for
more details.

The theatre
Productions of Romeo and Juliet,
Anthony and Cleopatra and King Lear run throughout April and theres is also a special birthday production of Romeo and Juliet on 24th April at the Courtyard Theatre. Tel: 01789 403444 or visit www.rsc.org.uk

Alternative Shakespeare
An alternative take on Shakespeare is playing at Coxs Yard where local amateur theatre group Tread the Boards put the Bards most famous, and gruesome, characters on trial
(23rd and 24th April).
Tel: 07858 013 625 or visit www.coxsyard.co.uk

Walk in Shakespeares footsteps
A guided tour of Stratford is a real insight into the town even for locals! Prices are 5 (children 2), no need to book, just turn up in plenty of time on Waterside, opposite the junction of Sheep Street, visit www.stratfordtownwalk.co.uk or call in at the Tourist Information centre for times.

At home with Shakespeare
There are five houses in and around the town that are associated with Shakespeare all getting in on the party. The Birthplace is where he spent his childhood, and where he began married life with Anne Hathaway. Nashs House and New Place are on the site of his final home.
Anne Hathaways cottage at Shottery is where Shakespeare visited his bride-to-be. And his mother Mary Ardens childhood home at Wilmcote is a working farm. Halls Croft was the home of his eldest daughter Susanna. Entrance to all five properties is 19 (child 12); tel: 01789 204016 or visit www.shakespeare.org.uk

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