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Painted footprints being dried A girl in front of a sign saying I Am William Shakespeare

Stratford-upon-Avon
From 23 April (Shakespeare's Birthday) until 30th October 2016

The Royal Shakespeare Company initially asked us if we were interested in creating an edition of the Steps Series for June 2016 linking the Royal Shakespeare Theatre with The Other Place. Before we could think about this in any detail they came back to us with a bigger proposal. They had spoken with Shakespeare's Birthplace Trust and wanted to know if, to celebrate the 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare's Death, we would be interested in making a piece about Shakespeare's life and work to run from his Birthplace along the town's 'Historic Spine' to Holy Trinity Church where he is buried and from there along the river bank to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre where is works are still performed. This challenge seemed too good to ignore so we started plotting.

Our response is based around the 'Seven Ages of Man' speech found in As You Like It and links these seven ages to imaginary scenes from his life containing quotes from his work alongside references to historical details all outside the actual buildings he lived in or frequented.

Scene 1: The Infant - outside Shakespeare's Birthplace, Henley Street.
Scene 2: The Lover - Henley Street / Cooks Alley.
Scene 3: The Soldier - High Street / Sheep Street.
Scene 4: The Justice - Shakespeare's New Place.
Scene 5: The Schoolboy - Shakespeare's Schoolroom and Guildhall.
Scene 6: Old Age - Hall's Croft.
Scene 7: Death - Holy Trinity Church.
Scene 8: The Legacy - Royal Shakespeare Theatre (colonnade).

A map detailing Shakespeare Steps including a treasure hunt can be found at all Shakespeare Birthplace Trust properties, including Shakespeare's Birthplace at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Holy Trinity Church, the Tourist Information Centre and Shakespeare's Schoolroom (from June 2016). A lower resolution version can also be downloaded here.

Download the map produced for Shakespeare Steps here.

Devised by: Craig Stephens, Simon Ford and James Yarker
Design (including print): Simon Ford
Installed by: Graeme Rose, Denise Stanton, Craig Stephens and Jack Trow
Administration: Rowena Wilding
Produced by: Roisin Caffrey

Commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company in association with The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Shakespeare's Schoolroom and Guildhall with support from the Stratford Society and Guild Chapel.

For RSC: Louisa Davies and Laura Keating

With thanks to: Bob Bearman and Erin Sullivan (for historical advice). Amaaya, Eve and Robin (for the first photoshoot). Holy Trinity Church.
Bennet Carr and Marion Morgan

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