Stratford 2 Stratford was an exciting new youth arts project in 2015. We took 30 teenagers from Stratford east London to Stratford upon Avon by narrowboat. Along the way they learnt all about the wonders of the canals together with the wonders of Shakespeare, and once they arrived they performed 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream' at the Dell and as part of the Stratford River Festival.
We know that sometimes, even when people live close to our canals and rivers, they may not appreciate all that they have to offer. Children growing up in urban areas might go for long stretches without the chance to get close to nature. That’s why we were thrilled to have the chance to introduce an entirely new audience to the beauty of the canals through the Stratford 2 Stratford project.
We worked with Chobham Academy in Stratford East London and the Rubbish Shakespeare Company to take 30 performing arts students (16-18 year olds) from Stratford East London to Stratford-upon-Avon, creating a performance based on 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream' along the way.
“Spending time in blue-green spaces has a demonstrable and well-proven impact on people’s mental health and wellbeing.” Source: NCBI website
The journey along the canals from Stratford to Stratford started on Saturday 27 June and took six days. In these six days the students experienced a whole new learning environment, and we hope that the canals, with their own special history, wildlife and sense of peace were an extra source of inspiration for them as they explored one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays.
There was an intensive rehearsal process before the journey, including a workshop with the Royal Shakespeare Company, so that the students really did have time to explore the canals, learn to open locks, steer a boat and weave the themes of nature and water into their production.
The students arrived in Stratford ready for two public performances. The first at the Dell, the Royal Shakespeare Company's outdoor venue on Saturday 4th July. The second as part of the Stratford River Festival on Sunday 5th July.
We had our very own Stratford 2 Stratford Theatre Company!
Last date edited: 8 October 2015