English in Action: The English-Speaking Union

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Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

TLab participants at Stratford-upon-Avon

Teachers and lifelong learners from across the US reveled while on TLab's inaugural program at Shakespeare Birthplace Trust: From Page to Stage. Participants spent a week in Stratford-upon-Avon walking in the footsteps of Shakespeare, enjoying lively discussions with renowned lecturers, soaking up the Christmas markets and enjoying four performances by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

This program is the second TLab course designed specifically for lifelong learners who seek enriching educational opportunities while traveling abroad. "I chose to visit Shakespeare's birthplace because it's important to walk in the footsteps of an icon," said Ruth-Terry Walden from New York City. "I've fallen in love with Shakespeare all over again because of this experience," exclaimed Gina Merrill from Santa Monica, CA.

From their arrival in England, participants were welcomed by Christopher Broadwell, The English-Speaking Union's Executive Director and immediately begin their in-depth study of Shakespeare lead by some of the world's top Shakespeareans, including Professor Sir Stanley Wells and Rev. Dr. Paul Edmondson. Their lectures focused on topics such as "The Genius of Shakespeare" as well as pre- and post-performance discussions focusing on their four performances by the Royal Shakespeare Company, including A Christmas Carol and Twelfth Night. Participants were even lead in discussions by some of the Royal Shakespeare Company actors themselves.

Walking in the footsteps of Shakespeare wouldn't be complete without visiting his homes and seeing first-hand some of his artifacts. The group received behind-the-scenes tours of Shakespeare's childhood home, the exhibit Famous Beyond Words, and an exclusive archive display of Shakespeare's "Trust Treasures". Did you know that the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust houses the Royal Shakespeare Company archives, including directors' notes, costumes and stage decorations?

In addition to Stratford-upon-Avon, the tour included a day-long excursion to Blenheim Palace, home of the 12th Duke of Marlborough and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.

Participants were treated to a three-course meal at Hall's Croft in Old Town at the end of the week where they could share stories and reminisce about their week with Shakespeare. "This experience has been so enriching because the group of people have been from such a broad range of careers," said Bridget Farias Gates from San Marcos, TX. "It's so beautiful to see people learning about Shakespeare."

If you'd like to visit Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, join TLab July 8-14 for their next trip and register online today.

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