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If your local theatre stages a Shakespeare season or festival, there’s very good chance that they will have been marking the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death on St George’s Day, Saturday 23rd April.  Given that any Shakespeare season attracts good audiences, capitalise on the media coverage by talking to them about a customised London – Stratford – London tour that could feature experiences they may never have seen before.  The market gets bigger when you think of drama teachers and professors who will be looking for an interesting programme for their Theatre and English Literature Spring Break in 2017.

Backstage in London…

Some suggestions include an actor led tour of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane; the Velvet, Gilt and Glamour tour of the Royal Opera House; a backstage tour of the National Theatre; the Theatre and Performance Collection at the V&A; a performance at the Menier Chocolate Factory and an evening at the King’s Head Islington, the first theatre pub since Shakespearian times.

In Oxfordshire and the Cotswolds… 

The university city of Oxford is celebrating the anniversary in a number of scholarly and surprising ways and at Blenheim Palace you’ll discover the role it played in Kenneth Branagh’s ambitious film of Hamlet.  The Rollright Stones are reputed to have inspired the witch’s scenes in Macbeth and privately owned Broughton Castle was the setting for some of the scenes in Shakespeare in Love.

And in Shakespeare’s England 

In addition to the talented costumed characters and strolling players who bring to life the Shakespeare Houses and the Frontstage, Backstage, Page to Stage tours and memorable matinee and evening performances at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre there’s also the newly opened Schoolroom and Guildhall which provides the missing chapter on where Shakespeare was educated and inspired to act and write.

Shakespeare Short and Sweet 

As many of you can access American and United’s non-stop flights into Birmingham (BHX) think about this 4 nighter for a couple of theatre lovers or as small group tour.  It includes Coventry Cathedral, Warwick Castle, the Shakespeare Houses, Broughton Castle, a spin through the northern Cotswolds, a backstage tour and an evening performance at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre with dinner in the Rooftop Restaurant.  London can be added as an extension at the end by which time your clients will be on GMT, bright eyed and bushy tailed.

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Paull Tickner, UK based member of the Travel Institute is an expert in developing customized special interest travel programs for the United Kingdom and Ireland. Check out his website at www.customgb.co.uk and email him at ptickner@customgb.co.uk.

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