Christmas in Stratford upon Avon

Christmas is coming!

Thursday Nov 24 is the date for your diary if you want to be in Stratford upon Avon for the Christmas Lights switch-on.  Events begin at 4.30 and Father Christmas will be there of course.

The same evening sees the first of the Thursday Xmas markets which continue through December on the 1, 8, 15 and 22.

For a family show, why not get tickets for The Tempest at the RSC or Aladdin at Stratford ArtsHouse.

Also in the area, there are Xmas events at Warwick Castle, Kenilworth Castle, Ragley Hall, Compton Verney and Batsford Arboretum.  The lovely town of Shipston on Stour hosts its Victorian Evening on Dec 2.

There are plenty of ideas for Christmas shopping too – and restaurants, cafes and pubs when you need to recover!

The Stratford upon Avon Music Festival 2016

This year’s Music Festival features concerts by Lesley GarrettRonnie Scott’s All StarsThe National Youth Jazz Orchestra, The RSC Music Department, The Endellion String Quartet and pianist, Martin Roscoe.

The festival also includes a lunchtime series and various informal concerts including ‘Buy a Beer’, ‘Breakfast with Bach’ and ‘Afternoon Tea’ concert.

The programme runs from October 14 – 22 at various venues in the town.

Stratford upon Avon Poetry Festival 2016

The Stratford upon Avon Poetry Festival returns on 18-25 September for a special week long programme of exciting events and activities marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

You can browse the full event’s listings online but highlights include readings from RSC actors, an experimental evening of hip hop, poetry and performance with Birmingham based rapper Juice Aleem, an open mic evening and a poetry choir.

Stratford Town Centre Food Festival

The 2016 festival will see Stratford Town Centre packed with over 100 stalls showcasing the best of local food and produce.  Highlights will include chef demonstrations, workshops and Food & Ale Trails.  Local chefs will showcase the town’s own culinary talent at the Waterside Cookery Theatre and on Sunday, acclaimed chef Jean-Christophe Novelli will be demonstrating his skills.

The festival takes place on September 23, 24 and 25 (Fri, Sat and Sun) and there is lots more info on the STRATFORWARD website.

The Rover by Aphra Benn at the RSC

Opening on Sept 8thThe Rover by Aphra Benn is described by the RSC as ‘an anarchic restoration comedy rich with seduction, intrigue and danger’.

Aphra Benn was England’s first female professional playwright and a strong voice in early feminism.  Her play is set in the world of the South American carnival where three wandering cavaliers in exile meet three women looking for love and freedom.

With Joseph Millson playing Willmore, the play is performed in The Swan Theatre until Feb 11th.

King Lear at the RSC

Antony Sher returns to the RSC to play King Lear in a production directed by Artistic Director Gregory Doran.  If you enjoyed Paapa Essiedu‘s recent performance as Hamlet, you can see him here as Edmund as well as Stratford favourite David Troughtonas Gloucester.

King Lear runs from Aug 20 to Oct 15 before transferring to London.

Home & Garden Show Stratford upon Avon

The 2016 Stratford Home & Garden Show runs this year from July 15 – 17.

Located in the centre of Stratford upon Avon in the Recreation Ground on the banks of the River Avon with the beautiful backdrop of the Holy Trinity Church and the world famous RSC, the show opens daily at 10am.

Attractions include a Home & Craft marquee, a Craft Market, a Food Court marquee, outside stands, exhibitions of plants, garden accessories and outdoor living and a Rural Crafts marquee.

The Alchemist at the RSC

The Alchemist by Ben Jonson has been getting 4 star reviews:

‘Polly Findlay finds gold in moral anarchy’ **** The Guardian
‘A glittering and witty production’ **** The Stage
‘Splendid satire is pure gold’  **** The Evening Standard

Polly Findlay directs Jonson’s hilarious satire that revels in just how vain people can be.
The play continues in The Swan Theatre until August 6th.

June events in Stratford upon Avon

June’s Let it Glow – Moonlit Walk is the first of two big fundraising events during the year for The Shakespeare Hospice, the second being the spectacular and colourful Dragon Boat Race along the river in September.

Also in June, Warwickshire will host the Aviva Women’s Bike Tour for the first time with the 140km second stage finishing in the town centre in front of the TV’s cameras.