It has been another busy winter here at Avonlea, we are nearing completion of our final 3 bathrooms and are gearing up to what looks like a fantastic 2017 in Stratford Upon Avon.

Before we tell you what is to come in the months ahead we would like to thank you all for kindly donating to our Christmas Raffle – we managed to raise over £420. We actually did the draw for the winner of the raffle on New Year’s Day but it has taken until now to sit down and write the newsletter. So the winner is Alexander Schmidt. Congratulations we look forward to welcoming you to Avonlea for your two-night stay soon. Maybe something below might tempt you into making your booking.

The RSC Winter schedule for 2017 has been announced and runs from September 2017 until February 2018.  Highlights this year include Twelfth Night, Coriolanus and A Christmas Carol. There is already a buzz around town that A Christmas Carol is going to rival the RSC’s success of Matilda! We certainly hope so. Off the back of looking at the season guide we have decided to break from our normal tradition of closing in January and next year we will be break at the beginning of February instead as there seems like there is a lot to see in January.

To make things a little easier for you below are the links to the forthcoming RSC season guides. If you click and scroll to the bottom of each link you will see a handy calendar schedule.

Summer 2017 (February – September 2017)     Winter 2017 (September 2017 – February 2018)

The Stratford Literary Festival is celebrating its 10th year from the 23rd – 30th April this year and there are some very interesting events, performances and speakers to look out for.  We hope to find some spare time to make it along to something as we really enjoyed it last year.

With all of the above going on this year rooms are selling quick so if you are looking at visiting Stratford during 2017 please get in touch as soon as possible to avoid disappointment and we hope to welcome many of you to Avonlea very soon.

Rob & Clare

With the RSC now halfway through their project to show all of Shakespeare’s First Folio they have announced their shows for winter 2018 taking us all the way through until this time next year.

In the words of Gregory Doran, Artistic Director:

“Our winter season is full of dark comedy and satire, with productions exploring abuse of power, greed, lechery and human potential for change.  Continuing our mission to ensure Shakespeare and theatre are for everyone, this season is packed with exciting theatre artists and has bite, humour and powerful resonances in our volatile world.”

The  season pans out as follows;

Troilus and Cressida, directed by Gregory Doran, with music by Evelyn Glennie – dedicated to the memory of the RSC’s co-founder, John Barton 12 October – 17 November 2018

A Christmas Carol, adapted from Dickens’ tale by David Edgar and directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, back by popular demand 4 December 2018 – 20 January 2019,

Tamburlaine, by Christopher Marlowe – directed by Michael Boyd, who returns to the RSC for the first time since stepping down as Artistic Director 16 August – 1 December 2018

Tartuffe, a new version of Molière’s classic, by Anil Gupta and Richard Pinto, directed by Iqbal Khan and set in Birmingham’s Pakistani Muslim community 7 September 2018 – 23 February 2019

Timon of AthensKathryn Hunter takes the title role, directed by Simon Godwin 7 December 2018 – 22 February 2019

Public booking for each level goes on sale on the following dates:

RSC Members 12th Feb 2018

RSC Subscribers 26th Feb 2018

Public Booking 5th March 2018

If you follow this RSC link and click “calendar view” you will then be able to filter “play” & “Stratford” you will then have their performances by monthly calendar view.

Don’t forget there is a packed schedule starting next month, including Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth and Romeo & Juliet.

Bookings are open up until the end of February 2018; many dates during the summer are filling up and as soon as the RSC bookings are released the winter will fill up too so please book ahead.

Please note as we are closed in February we will not be able to take bookings over the phone from Saturday 3rd February until Wednesday 28th February. You will still be able to make bookings via our website and we will also be able to take email enquiries.

We hope to welcome many of you to Avonlea soon.

Rob & Clare

It has been a busy start to 2018, the RSC winter program has been very popular with all of our guests. We are proud to say we raised £460 in this year’s raffle bringing our total to nearly £1400 in the last 3 years. All of this money has gone to the Guide Dogs Shakespeare Puppies appeal, which as most of you know is a cause close to our hearts.

We had many very generous donations again this year and we are very happy to announce that the winner (chosen at random) of the competition is Charlie Budd, some of you might recognise his name from one of our newsletters a few years ago. Charlie was our decorator who helped us with the refurbishment of Avonlea.

Unfortunately, after an accident last year where Charlie broke his back in a fall at work he has had to hang up his paintbrushes and seek a new career. He is a very talented photographer and videographer so he is now moving into this field and we wish him the best of luck. He is a Stratford resident so we wait to see if his prize goes to some visiting friends or if Charlie decides to take the short trip across town to get a break from the kids!

Thank you once again for everyone who donated to this very worthy cause.

We aim to do another newsletter in a couple of weeks covering the RSC 2018 schedules and other special events happing in Stratford in 2018. We are filling up for some dates for the 2018 summer season so if you are planning a trip to Stratford don’t forget to book soon so you don’t miss out.

Rob & Clare

We would like to take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas.  Just a little bit of news from Avonlea this month but don’t forget to read to the end for your chance to win a free stay with us. Once again we have decided not to send Christmas cards, instead, we have decided to give the postie a break and we will be donating the money we would have spent on cards and postage and donate it the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.

As many of you know the Guide Dogs is a charity we feel passionately about and we have supported them for the last two years. We were also looking after a stud dog of theirs called Murphy who had been living with us for the last 18 months. The plan was that he would live with us and then got to ‘work’ with them every month or so to produce lots of new Guide Dog puppies.

Unfortunately, in March he had a seizure in the night that was potentially epilepsy and after going through a period of observation for a couple of months it was confirmed that he does have epilepsy.  Due to that, he would have to be withdrawn, as they could not ethically breed from him due to the risk of passing it on.

We then had the tough decision to make, we could have kept him as a pet but this would have meant that we would not have been able to continue helping the association, as with already having Ben we would not have been able to accommodate a third dog.  We decided it would be best if they rehomed Murphy and he has gone to what sounds like a fantastic home where he is going to be well and truly spoiled.

We are now waiting for another stud dog from the Guide Dogs, we are not sure how long it will take, they are just waiting for the right one for us to come along. Once he is with us we will update you all.

Now on to the bit where you can win a stay with us at Avonlea. As we did last year we have set up a JustGiving page and for everyone who is kind enough to make a donation to the Guide Dogs Shakespeare Puppies Appeal via this page, we will enter you into a prize draw to win two nights at Avonlea. We would like a minimum donation of £2, and for each multiple of £2 you will get another entry into the draw. So if you donated £10 you would get 5 entries.

Last entries for the draw will be 7th January 2018 and we will announce the winner soon after.  We would really like to hit £700 this year so please don’t forget to buy your tickets.

Good luck and once again we wish you a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Rob & Clare

International Shakespeare Conference Update

Just a quick update as you expressed interest in staying for the International Shakespeare Conference in 2016. We have had an update from one of the other attendees that the date has changed. The ISC in 2018 has been changed to: Sunday 22nd July – Friday 27th July.

We have had a few bookings already and anticipate filling up for the week.  If you are attending the conference in 2018 and are considering staying with us please get in touch soon to secure your room.

The first few nights of Twelfth Night have been fantastically popular and although we have not had a chance to see it yet many of our guests have been telling us that it has been a full house every night and it is well worth seeing. We suggest you get online to the RSC website to book as soon as possible.

We expect A Christmas Carol that starts in a couple of weeks to be a big hit also.

The first date that both shows are on back to back is the weekend of 8th December, however as that falls on the same weekend as the Victorian Fair most of Stratford has been fully booked for quite some time.  If you are looking to see both performances we do have availability for later in December and into January but we are filling up so we suggest booking as quickly as possible. If you can get your stay to include a Thursday in December you will get to enjoy the Christmas Markets.

Last year we were proud to win the Stratford Independent Shop Awards for Best Hotel/B&B. We have been nominated again this year. The voting has opened and if you think we deserve your vote we would be very grateful if you could follow the link and fill out the form.  We have our fingers crossed for the other local business we love….

One of our regular guests who stayed with us again last week gave me some leaflets about the British Shakespeare Association of which she is a trustee. It is always great to hear about the events and meetings she attends.

It is a friendly, supportive community for anyone with a professional interest in Shakespeare. She promised it is not as highbrow or scary as one might expect so why not take a look at their website and see if you would like to join?

Don’t forget to keep an eye out for our newsletter next month when we will launch our Christmas Charity Raffle with the opportunity to win a stay with us at Avonlea.

We wouldn’t normally send three newsletters out in one month but we wanted to share the news as soon as possible.

We are very proud to announce that on 21st September we became WINNERS of The Coventry & Warwickshire Tourism and Culture Awards for Small Hotel or B&B. We won this category in the inaugural year of the awards in 2015, they did not run our category last year so we are over the moon to retain the award for 2017. Thank you for all of your support, we could not do it without feedback from people like yourselves.

We wanted to take this opportunity to remind you all that the RSC is not the only fantastic place for theatre in and around Stratford. In fact, myself and Clare have 10 visits to various theatres locally and none of it is to see any Shakespeare.

In Stratford, many of you will know The Attic Theatre, as you will have seen it when you cross the bridge into town, but you may not have heard of the Stratford Arts House. We see a lot of things there including plays, musicals and comedy.

On our most recent visit, we saw Jay Rayner on what we thought was a tour promoting his new book The 10 (food) Commandments–  what we got was a hugely funny stand-up show.

Those of you who know us know we love to eat out and I have always liked to read Jay’s opinions about where he eats. It is always witty and insightful and he has managed to put this whit into his stage show. He is also a pianist in a jazz quartet and he treated us to a number to round off the night. When you bring food, comedy and jazz together you are sure to be in for a good night and Jay certainly does not disappoint. Above is the link to the rest of his tour. I strongly recommend you try and see him if you can.

Also coming up at the Stratford Arts House is A Midsummer Nights Scream and it sounds fantastic.

A Midsummer Night’s Scream is a celebration of the Decadent, Dark Side of Burlesque and Cabaret ready for Halloween!

Hosted by the Grand Duchess of Cabaret we welcome Kiki DeVille back to the ArtsHouse. This show will feature burlesque, magic, dance, hula hooping, pole dancing and sword swallowing! Not for the narrow minded this show promises you a spooktacular night to remember

Don’t forget that the RSC Summer 2018 booking window opens in the next couple of weeks (depending on your level of membership). We can honestly say that this looks like it is going to be the most popular season since we opened 6 years ago. The link above is to our synopses of the season and if anything takes your fancy we suggest you book as soon as you can.

As the winter season has just started we look forward to welcoming many of you back to Avonlea in the coming months.

Rob & Clare

You may remember a couple of months ago nominations were opened for the Stratford online awards, since then the nominees have been announced and we are on the list. Now they are looking for votes for your favourite businesses in and around Stratford-upon-Avon.  If you think we deserve your vote for best B&B we would be extremely grateful if you could follow the link below to the categories list. Don’t worry, you do not have to nominate someone in each section but I am sure if you have other favourite places they would appreciate your vote also.  If the blue link above does not work please copy and paste the following and it should be the end result that includes a list of all of the nominated businesses ‘Stratford upon avon online awards Vote’.

With the Royal Shakespeare Company Winter 2017 season now underway the RSC have released information about the Summer 2018 season. It looks to be a fantastic season with Romeo & Juliet (as predicted by me) and Macbeth taking centre stage.

The RST with play host to:

Macbeth directed by Polly Findlay with Christopher Eccleston making his RSC debut in the title role of the bloody king in this contemporary psychological thriller (13 March – 22 September 2018)

Romeo & Juliet directed by Erica Whyman set in a world very like our own, this Romeo and Juliet is about a generation of young people born into violence and ripped apart by the bitter divisions of their parents (21 April – 22 September 2018)

The Merry Wives of Windsor directed by Fiona Laird Down on his luck in the suburbs, John Falstaff plans to hustle his way to a comfortable retirement by seducing the wives of two wealthy men. Unknown to him, it’s the women of Windsor who really pull the strings, orchestrating Falstaff’s comeuppance amidst a theatrical smorgasbord of petty rivalries, jealousies and over-inflated egos. (4 August – 20 September 2018)

King Lear directed by Gregory Doran Antony Sher reprises his “unbearably moving” (Guardian) performance in the title role of this acclaimed production. (23 May – 9 June 2018)

The Swan will play host to:

The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster (1 March – 4 August 2018)

The Fantastic Follies of Mrs Rich (or The Beau Defeated) by Mary Pix (22 March – 16 June 2018)

Miss Littlewood, Book, Music and Lyrics by Sam Kenyon (22 June – 4 August)

More info about the Swan season to follow next time….

Looking at this exciting schedule, tickets will sell out fast. We will have availability online in time for tickets going on sale so we recommend booking as quickly as possible to avoid disappointment.

Shakespeare Winter and Summer Schools

Each year the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in association with the Shakespeare Institute and the RSC run very successful Winter and Summer schools to enable Shakespeare to learn more about the performances on that season.

This seasons Winter school will run Wednesday 10th – Friday 12th January and the course is £240 inclusive of theatre ticket or £150 without. Please contact the RSC learning department on 01789 201805 for more information.

The Summer school is weeklong and each year we have more and more people attend and it is a great atmosphere in the morning at breakfast with everyone talking about the previous performance and also the day ahead.  The 2018 Winter school will run Sunday 19th August until Friday 24th and we have limited rooms available so please get in touch if you are interested in booking. The Summer school page is not updated yet but again if you contact the learning department I am sure they will put you on the mailing list.

Rob & Clare

We are very proud to announce for the 2nd time in three years that we are finalists in The Coventry & Warwickshire Tourism and Culture Awards for Small Hotel or B&B. We won this category in the inaugural year of the awards (2015) and still “technically” hold the title, as they did not run our category last year.  The finals are on Thursday 21st September so our fingers are crossed for another win, we will keep you posted…

Stratford has some wonderful Christmas lights and this year they will be being turned on Thursday 21st December in time for the Stratford Christmas market and then the market runs every Thursday until 21st December.

A new 3-Day traditional Victorian Christmas marketopens in Stratford-upon-Avon this festive season, taking place on Friday 8th, Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th December and is located throughout the town centre. The market will include approx. 150 stalls filling its historic streets with the colours, sounds and irresistible aromas of Christmas past and present. This should be a great time to come and stay with us and soak up the festive atmosphere.

Obviously a trip to Stratford would not be complete without a visit to the RSC. They have a fantastic winter season ahead which is already proving to be very popular if bookings are anything to go by;

Twelfth Night (2 November 2017 – 24 February 2018): Twins Viola and Sebastian are separated in a shipwreck and forced to fend for themselves in a strange land. Director Christopher Luscombe together with the creative team that brought you the beautiful Love’s Labour’s Lost and Much Ado About return with Shakespeare’s greatest comedy. Adrian Edmondson will play Malvolio.. In the role of Olivia is Kara Tointon, (Rosalie Selfridge in Mr Selfridge)

A Christmas Carol (27 November 2017 – 4 February 2018): David Edgar’s new adaptation of Charles Dickens’ much-loved classic story, A Christmas Carol, is paired with Twelfth Night. This is Edgar’s first Dickens adaptation since the multi-award winning production of Nicholas Nickleby in the 1980s. The production is directed by Rachel Kavanaugh and designed by Stephen Brimson Lewis, with lighting by Tim Mitchell.

In the Swan Theatre:

Imperium: Part 1 Conspirator (16 November 2017 – 10 February 2018)

Imperium: Part 2 Dictator (23 November 2017– 23 February 2018): RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran directs Imperium, Mike Poulton’s thrilling new stage adaptation of Robert Harris’ best-selling Cicero trilogy. Staged as six plays, presented in two performances, Part I: Conspirator and Part II: Dictator, this epic event traces the triumphs and disasters of Rome’s greatest orator, as he defends Rome’s Republic against the predatory attacks of political rivals, discontented aristocrats and would-be military dictators.  Told through the eyes of Cicero’s loyal secretary, Tiro, this is a backstage view of Rome at its most bloody and brutal. 

Many dates for the winter period are filling up fast so get in touch or visit our website to book your next stay before they fill up.  Don’t forget for stays of two or more nights receive 20% off your total bill, offer valid Sunday – Thursday. If your stay includes a Friday or Saturday, a minimum stay of 3 nights is required to be eligible for the offer. This offer is available on selected dates until 17th December 2017 and only valid for new bookings.

We look forward to welcoming you to Avonlea soon.

Rob & Clare

Just a quick note today to let you all know about two great special offers currently running.

Firstly the RSC is offering tickets for £15 for performances of Coriolanus Monday-Thursday performances in September.

Coriolanus has been hugely popular with many of our guests:

“A full-throttle war play that revels in the sweat of the battlefield, Coriolanus transports us back to the emergence of the Republic of Rome.

Caius Martius Coriolanus is a fearless soldier but a reluctant leader. His ambitious mother attempts to carve him a path to political power, but he struggles to change his nature and do what is required to achieve greatness. In this new city state struggling to find its feet, where the gap between rich and poor is widening every day, Coriolanus must decide who he really is and where his allegiances lie.” RSC

To go alongside this we are offering 20% OFF stays from 2 nights or more.

For stays of two or more nights receive 20% off your total bill, offer valid Sunday – Thursday. If your stay includes a Friday or Saturday, a minimum stay of 3 nights is required to be eligible for the offer. This offer is available on selected dates until 17th December 2017 and only valid for new bookings.

Offer subject to availability and valid 1/9/17 – 17/12/17

If you can take advantage of either of the offers we look forward to welcoming you to Avonlea soon.

Rob & Clare

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Avonlea
47 Shipston Road
Stratford-upon-Avon
Warwickshire
CV37 7LN

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