Visit Shakespeare’s Birthplace with ORA This Summer

This summer, beyond our brilliant live outdoor Shakespeare performances, students will also have the chance to explore the Bard’s life in the town where he was born: Stratford-upon-Avon.

Image shows the house where Shakespeare was born.
Shakespeare’s birthplace – Image credit

For students attending session 2 at St Peter’s or Balliol, there will be a packed and fascinating day trip to get to know all about Shakespeare’s life and times, and well as learning a little more about his plays and the theatre. The day will be broken up into five sessions.

All About Shakespeare

This information-packed, fully illustrated talk gives a thorough introduction to Shakespeare’s life and work, as well as his connection with the historic town of Stratford, which the students will get to explore. It’s not just about his plays – this fascinating talk explains all about his early life, his schooldays and his marriage too, so you can get to know the man behind some of the most beautiful writing in the English language.

Acting Workshop

When studying Shakespeare, it’s all too easy to forget that his words were intended not to be read, but to be performed. This exciting and dynamic acting workshop will bring performance into the spotlight, with students learning how to act a short piece – a section from a play, or a sonnet – and then getting to try out their performance in front of the class if they wish.

Shakespeare’s Birthplace

This is the house where it all began – where Shakespeare was born, grew up, and where he spent the first five years of his married life with Anne Hathaway – and possibly where he wrote one of his earliest sonnets, sonnet 145, perhaps at the age of just 18. Visitors have been coming here for 250 years, including Charles Dickens, John Keats, Walter Scott and Thomas Hardy. It offers an amazing insight into the early life that shaped Shakespeare’s future.

Nash’s House

Image shows the colourful garden of New Place.
The garden at New Place, filled with plants mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays – Image credit

Stratford isn’t just significant for its connection with Shakespeare; it’s also a historic town in its own right, founded by the Saxons in the 7th century and gaining a market charter in 1196. The top floors of Nash’s House are a museum dedicated to this fascinating history, tracing the journey of the town all the way from prehistoric settlements in the Avon valley up to the 1500s when Shakespeare was born.
The house’s connection to Shakespeare is via his granddaughter, Elizabeth, who married a man named Thomas Nash – this was his house. It’s a very well-preserved Tudor building, and the ground floor is decorated as it would have been when Nash lived there.

New Place

Tragically, New Place itself – the house Shakespeare bought with the money he had earned as a successful playwright, in 1597 – no longer exists. Its owner in 1759 tore it down after a dispute with the townsfolk, after which he was forced to leave Stratford. Luckily, though, there is still plenty to see here, particularly the impressive garden where pains have been taken to use the kinds of plants that Shakespeare would have known. It’s also just wonderful to know you’re in the place where Shakespeare wrote some of his latest and greatest plays, almost certainly including The Tempest.
It’s not too late to join us this summer! Browse our courses and secure your place today ➙