Stratford upon Avon becomes Christmas upon Avon!
From pantomimes and productions to activities and workshops, there is plenty to entertain families in Stratford in the run-up to Christmas.
On Thursday 24th November, Father Christmas will take up residence in Henley Street until Christmas Eve. The man himself will be at Magic Alley, which is being transformed into a winter wonderland of magic for the festive season. Pippin the elf and his magical helpers will transform the whole building into a snow-covered winter wonderland called ‘Miracle on Magic Alley’ which promises to be a spectacular Christmas experience for the whole family. Father Christmas himself will arrive at Magic Alley on the 24th, to be joined by two of his reindeer in a ‘flying visit’ between 4.30pm and 6.30pm. There will be twinkling lights, icicles and snow throughout the attraction, and apparently "more than just a nod towards a certain magical land through a wardrobe".
Everyone that visits Father Christmas will receive a specially-commissioned story to be read together as a family on Christmas Eve, and every child will be given their own Sleigh Bell!!
To book tickets call 01789 290969 and to find more information visit: www.seekthemagic.org/Christmas
This winter sees the RSC’s revolutionary production of The Tempest, featuring state-of-the art technology, to mark Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary, running in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre until January 21st. The RSC is also inviting families to create star-shaped willow lanterns and take part in a festive winter procession followed by a ceilidh as part of its Winter’s Night family activities this December.
People taking part in the free procession, which starts at the Bancroft Terrace on at 6pm Saturday, December 3rd can create willow lanterns at one of three workshops set to take place this Saturday (November 19th), next Saturday (26th) and the following week (December 3rd) from 2pm-5pm at The Other Place. The procession is followed by a festive ceilidh in the Studio Theatre at The Other Place with music, hot dogs and festive punch will also be on offer. The lanterns will then be on display in the foyer area of The Other Place together with a shadow box, which reflects silhouettes of winter trees and birds, which will light up the theatre space over December and the New Year.
Other events taking place at the RSC during December include Harriet Walter in conversation about her new book, Brutus and Other Heroines, with RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran. The talk takes place on Monday, December 19th from 5pm-5.45pm in the Swan Theatre.
There are a range of activities on offer at Shakespeare’s Birthplace this festive season, with its ‘A Very Tudor Christmas’ event from December until January 6th, including making Tudor Christmas cards to talks about Christmas in the Tudor period as well as storytelling.
Shakespeare’s New Place will be turned into a Garden of Curious A-MUSE-ments from December 15-17th, followed by Ruff Making activities from December 17th to January 2nd.
And at Hall’s Croft, from December 1st to January 6th visitors will be able to discover how Christmas has changed in the 400 years since the Halls lived there.
Attic Theatre in Coxs Yard
Panto is also on offer at the Attic Theatre in Cox’s Yard, with Beauty and the Beast running from December 16th until January 8th featuring the Prince of Stratfordia.
Community arts group Escape Arts is running a range of creative Christmas activities at The Old Slaughterhouse from Christmas art camps to a late-night shopping service. Children will be able to take part in activities like creating their own Christmas gifts or making a winter wonderland with igloos and icicles.
There is also a four-week Lego Animation Club starting this Saturday.
The charity is also offering craft workshops including traditional Christmas crafts like sugarcraft, willow angels and Christmas stockings. For more information visit http://www.escapearts.org.uk/
Stratford Town Walk
The popular Stratford Town Walk continues over the festive season - even on Christmas Day. The award-winning guided walking tour with local professional guides meets on weekdays at 11am and Saturday and Sunday at 11am and 2pm. On Christmas Day a festive walk starts at 10.30am lasting roughly two hours.
It takes in the houses connected to William Shakespeare and his family, including The Birthplace, Nash’s House, New Place, Hall’s Croft, as well as the River Avon, Royal Shakespeare Theatres, and Guild Chapel.
Stratford Arts House
Get into the Christmas spirit with performances at the Arts House. You can start the Christmas season with Stratford Concert Band on December 3rd ’s popular local wind band. The ever popular ‘Christmas Nights’ from Wilson Roberts’ Friends on Sunday, December 11th, as well as a Prelude to Christmas from Stratford Choral Society on December 17th.
No festive season would be complete without a panto. This year Aladdin will fly into the Arts House, with performances at various times from Wednesday, December 14th until Tuesday, December 27th.