The Theatre Chipping Norton is one of the most prominent cultural centers in the city, which has something to suit everyone's tastes. Whether it's music that moves you or comedy, drama or just relaxed film screenings, this is where it's all at.
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.
Stratford Picture House is a stylish modern cinema with open spaces and natural wood floors, a much lighter feel from some of the more dark and dingy theaters. The bar hosts regular "Art in the Bar" exhibitions of local artists that are always worth a look. Note that admission prices vary.
The Rep is one of Britain's most successful and prestigious producing theaters, having achieved national recognition for quality and excitement. The theater offers an eclectic mix of productions. Past performances have included Noel Coward's Private Lives, Patrick Marber's award-winning Closer and a version of Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men. The theater also has a cafe bar, which is extremely popular in the evenings and on weekends, often offering live jazz.
The jewelry industry developed in the city from the mid-19th Century. At its peak in the early part of the 20th Century, it employed nearly 20,000 workers. Today, the Jewellery Quarter is a bustling area that produces over a third of the UK's jewelry, and you can find tons of bargains in its many small shops. It's also home to the award-winning Museum of the Jewellery Quarter and some good restaurants.
One of United Kingdom's finest vestiges of medieval-age military architecture, the legendary Warwick Castle sits right in the heart of the Warwick Castle Knight's Village. The castle, William I's iconic stronghold that he built in 1068, encapsulates nearly 1000 years of history. Originally built as a motte-and-bailey castle, it was equipped with a stone keep in the 12th Century, during Henry I's rule. Its displays today include a host of medieval weaponry, vivid waxworks, and the Herculean 18-meter (59-foot) Warwick trebuchet, known as one of the largest siege engines of its kind in the world.
It is well worth spending time studying the frontage of Harvard House, for it is Stratford's most ornate structure and a splendid example of an Elizabethan town house. Look in particular for the initials of the owners who had it re-built following the severe damage sustained in the Great Fire of 1594. It was their grandson John who, having emigrated to the United States, founded the university which bears his name. In 1909, the house was purchased by a Chicago millionaire who paid for it to be restored before presenting it to Harvard University. Today the house is managed on behalf of Harvard by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Inside the house, in addition to fine pieces of 17th century furniture, is part of the Neish pewter collection. This collection of great national importance boasts items spanning over two thousand years.
Flanked by the Royal Theatre Company in the same Victorian building, the Swan Theatre was originally built to promote the works of Shakespeare. The first production showcased here was The Two Noble Kinsmen which was written and directed by William Shakespeare and John Fletcher. This theatre has also seen dramatic productions by other world renowned European play writers. The theatre can seat up to 400 people and has excellent lighting, stage and sound facilities.
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.
In the heart of the city, is the house where Shakespeare was born in 1564. The entrance to the house is via the visitors' center. Here you will find the highly acclaimed Shakespeare Exhibition. This comprehensive display superbly illustrates the Bard's life and career in the city. Having walked through the exhibition, you emerge into a garden laid out with flowers, trees and shrubs that were familiar to Shakespeare and that were mentioned in his work. The house itself has been faithfully reconstructed and now offers a fascinating insight into Shakespeare's life as a child. Rooms have been furnished as accurately as possible with replicas of 16th Century everyday objects, furniture and textiles having been commissioned. Take yourself back in time and reflect upon the tales that began here.