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This modern building situated between Shakespeare's Birthplace and the visitors' center, consists of a library and a records office. The library, devoted to Shakespeare, brings together two important collections that embrace all aspects of his work. This includes early editions and original copies. The library, which used to be part of The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, also houses the archive of the Royal Shakespeare Company, complete with records of all productions, copies of programs and newspaper articles and a fascinating collection of photographs. Sound and video recordings of this great company are also available for viewing. The records office contains Shakespearean material of national importance together with a fine local history library including local newspaper files from 1806.
A trip to Stratford is not complete without a visit to the home of the Royal Shakespeare Company. The theater was built in 1926 following fire damage to the 1879 original structure. Fortunately it was not completely destroyed during the fire; parts of the original building, a cross between a German castle and French chateau, are still clearly visible. A second auditorium, the Swan Theater has also been incorporated into the older part.
This monument, which also includes a clock tower, was the gift of a Philadelphian newspaper magnate to the town in 1887 in celebration of Queen Victoria's golden jubilee. Unveiled in October of that year by the famous Shakespearean actor Henry Irving, the fountain is decorated with engravings of quotations. Look out for an unusual spelling in the quotation from Act V of King Henry VIII.
The Stratford Playhouse is a versatile venue used for cultural and educational events. It features a flexible 450-seat auditorium, foyer, an atrium, dressing rooms, meeting areas, a bar and a lovely courtyard garden. It is one of the esteemed destinations for comedy, theater, dance and music in town.
For those who like their leisure activities passive, this is an ideal spot to relax. Feeding the ducks at the water's edge is about as energetic as it gets! However, there are lots of things to see including the colorful narrow-boats moored in the canal-basin and the impromptu street-entertainers. And that is not all. On one side of the gardens is the splendid Royal Shakespeare Theatre, and on another is the truly inspirational Gower Memorial. The Gardens are also just a short walk from the town center, making them particularly popular with visitors recovering from whistle-stop tours of Stratford's heritage sites.