Екскурсія по Стратфорду – на-Ейвоні

Excursion around Stratford – on- Avon

( A Role – Play )

Objectives: to get Ss more aware of  William Shakespeare’s life and works;

                    to develop Ss’ speaking skills;

                    to cultivate Ss’ love for poetry in general and Shakespeare’s sonnets in particular.

Materials: the portrait of W. Shakespeare, video ” Англия и Уэльс” (Глобус) for freeze

                   framing  or the pictures with the sights of Stratford-on Avon, cassette with the     

                   sonnets performed by Alla Pugachiova, cassette with the extract from the book “William Shakespeare” by Jennifer Basset.



Teacher: You’ve read and heard much about the main sights in England which attract thousands of tourists. I’m sure many times you dreamt of travelling around England. Let’s imagine that your dream has come true. You took part in the contest devoted to W. Shakespeare held by Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust and won it. The winners of the international contest were invited to Stratford-on-Avon to take part in Shakespeare’s Birthplace Celebrations.So we’re already in Stratford-on – Avon.

The main part

Director of the Trust: Let me introduce myself. I’m Mrs. Kushliak, the director of Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust. Welcome to Stratford-on- Avon. I’m pleased to meet here in Shakespeare Centre the students from Ukraine who love Shakespeare and are eager to learn more about him and his works. Your first day will be devoted to Shakespeare properties, the places,  buildings and things which belonged to Shakespeare and his family. Meet our excursion guides who will  accompany you.

Guide1. Our first destination is Shakespeare’s Birthplace. Let’s go ahead along Henley Street. You may ask questions if you like on our way.

Student1.I’ve read various  books  about William Shakespeare but all of them contained very little information about his parents.

G1. Really, not much is known about Shakespeare’s father, John Shakespeare. We know that he  couldn’t write but he was a man of some importance in Stratford. John Shakespeare was a tradesman, a dealer in corn, meat and other products. He even became an alderman, an important member of the council of Stratford.

  The poet’s mother , Mary Arden, was the daughter of Robert Arden,  a rich farmer in the village of Wylmcote near Stratford, a gentleman of ancient and honourable family. Here we are. Look at this well-built house. (The guide shows either a picture of the house or a freezing frame from the video). This is the house where John Shakespeare lived with his wife and where William was born on April 23, 1564. Let’s come inside where you will see the interior of the house. Upstairs there is a bedroom where little William was born.

S2. How did William Shakespeare spend his childhood?

G1. William was the eldest son and a third child in the family. He is supposed to have spent his boyhood  playing with his friends in the nearby woods or on the beautiful meadows near the Avon River.

S2. What education did he get?

G1. Now we’re going to the building of the Stratford Grammar School where I’ll tell you about it.( The guide shows the picture of the school) At the age of seven William was sent to the free grammar school. The teachers of the school were highly qualified as they were graduates of Oxford. Along side with reading and writing Shakespeare was taught Latin and Greek. Here you can see a desk from those ancient times. As it is rather high we may suppose that  students were standing during the lessons in Shakespeare’s time. Unfortunately  the prosperity of the family waned when in 1578 John Shakespeare was unable to pay poor-rates. He fell into debts, and William was taken from school. The boy had to help his father. William didn’t return to school anymore.

S3. Could he go to university later?

Guide1. Shakespeare didn’t get university education. He got his real education from people living around. Here’s the bus which will take you to Anne Hathaway’s cottage. It is in the village of Shottery, one mile from the town centre.

S4. Anne Hathaway was the poet’s wife, wasn’t she?

G2.You are right. At the age of 18 William Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway. Look at this thatched cottage. (The guide shows the picture of the house). The cottage belonged to Richard Hathaway, a well-to-do farmer. In this house his daughter Anne was born in 1556 and lived until she married William Shakespeare in 1582. A new family moved to  Stratford.

S5. Did William Shakespeare spend all his life in Stratford? Was his marriage happy?

G2. Well, I think you’ll get your answers listening to the recorded reminiscences of Shakespeare’s friend Toby.

/ The students listen to the story told by Toby, an extract from the book “William Shakespeare” by Jennifer Basset/

G2. Could we call their marriage happy?

S5. On the one hand ,Shakespeare was very happy because he loved his children very much. On the other hand, he had very little in common with his wife. He was fond of theatrical performances, while she preferred church-going. Anne hated actors and acting. All the actors for her were drunkards, thieves and criminals.

G2. How old was Shakespeare when he left Stratford for London?

S6. He was only 23 at that time. Wasn’t it cruel to leave his wife with three little children?

G2. If you listened to the text attentively, you heard that he had promised to come back. He kept his promise. Perhaps it was a right decision at that time , otherwise Shakespeare wouldn’t have become an outstanding poet and playwright.

S7. But his greatest dream was acting, wasn’t it? Was it easy for him to find a job at a theatre?

He was not trained to play on the stage.

G3. That’s right. He wasn’t trained but he was talented. Besides, he was ready to do any kind of work at the beginning. So he started his theatrical career calling out names of the actors , then he was given small parts to act.

S8. In Ukraine William Shakespeare is known as a great playwright. Prominent Ukrainian writers such as Maxym Rylskyi, Panteleimon Kulish, Mykola Bazhan and Dmytro Palamarchuk translated some of his works into Ukrainian. Unfortunately we haven’t read many of Shakespeare’s comedies and tragedies yet. Nevertheless all the students in our group know about Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, King Lear.

G3. I’m sure the profession of an actor helped Shakespeare to become a playwright. First he tried to change old plays for the company of actors he belonged to. Very soon he began to write his own plays. William Shakespeare wrote 37 plays, among them historical dramas King Henry VI, King Richard III, comedies The Twelfth Night, The Merry Wives of Windsor, tragedies King Lear, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet. They are staged at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford every  night.

S1.Did Shakespeare play in this theatre?

G3.No,  he didn’t. The Royal Shakespeare Theatre was opened here in 1932. Only Shakespeare’s plays are staged here. As far as I know , you are going to the theatre tonight.

Students: Hurray! What is on tonight?

G3. Romeo and Juliet.

S2. It’s fantastic. A lot of us have read the tragedy in Ukrainian or seen the screen version.

Director of the Trust. I’m really pleased  that you know Shakespeare’s tragedies. And what about his sonnets? Do you know that Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets?

S3. Of course we know! We studied them at our World Literature lessons. My favourite one is sonnet90./ The student recites the sonnet/

G3: We are near the Shakespeare Memorial ( Students are shown the picture or a freeze frame from the film.) You can see the bronze statue of William Shakespeare, presented to Stratford by Lord Ronald Sutherland Gower in 1888. Shakespeare’s figure is high above the ground and on the ground there are  small figure’s of Shakespeare’s characters.

The Director of the Trust: It is high time for us to go down to Holy Trinity Church where Shakespeare was baptized and buried. After that we have to hurry up to the theatre because the performance  begins in an hour

G2: .( Students are shown the picture of Holy Trinity Church.) This is Holy Trinity Church. Look at this exhibit. It is a register of christenings. The page which you can see reads that William Shakespeare was baptized in this church on April 26, 1564. After his death the poet was buried in the same church. O n the left you can see a bust of Shakespeare in the niche. It was carved by a Dutch sculptor who must have seen Shakespeare many times. You can see many flowers on the tomb of the poet. Every day people from different countries bring them to express their admiration for Shakespeare’s talent.

S 8 : Thank you very much for a wonderful and unforgettable excursion! We’ve enjoyed every minute of it. The places connected with great Shakespeare are  marvelous and so is the whole town of Stratford. You have mentioned that Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust collects translations from Shakespeare in different languages. We would be glad to enrich your collection with the book of Shakespeare’s sonnets translated into Ukrainian by Dmytro Palamarchuk.

G2: Thank you very much. Now it is time to go to the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre . Tonight ” Romeo and Juliet” is on.

(Two students perform Act 2 Scene2 from “Romeo & Juliet”. Retold by Alistair McCallum.

Oxford University Press)