THE Stratford Mop of 1914 appeared little changed from previous years. Wartime austerity had not yet set in and few people foresaw that the conflict would be lengthy. One of the great traditions of the fair was its roasts. No less than five oxen and seven pigs were rotating on the spits outside the pubs on the big day. The excursion trains brought their usual hundreds of revellers from Birmingham and other centres of population. None of Stratford’s conscripts had yet embarked overseas, although just five days before, a regular with the South Wales Borderers, Sgt RH Savage, had been the first Stratfordian to fall victim to the war. He had been struck by shrapnel at the Battle of the Aisne and died of his wounds in Bournbrook Military Hospital.
Four years ago Ellis Holtom, of Stratford-upon-Avon, was born with half a working heart. Later, the Herald featured his condition as a tribute to the work of Birmingham Children’s Hospital where he was treated. Now, to mark Congenital Heart Defect Week his mum, Vicki, updates his story. . .
ALL 326 local planning authorities in England, councils like Stratford-on-Avon District, need a local plan. The core strategy is a component of that local plan. It contains all the local district wide policies that need to be considered when processing planning applications. New development needs to satisfy local needs, helping to realise the hopes and ambitions of its communities and protect them from situations they fear. New homes and places to work should provide then with a healthy lifestyle, a pleasant place to live, good recreational facilities and above all the infrastructure that enhances their quality of life. The buzzword to describe this is ‘sustainable’.
THE poor are paying more than they should be for their energy, according to damning new evidence from Stratford-upon-Avon’s Citizens Advice Bureau. Prepayment meters (PPMs) are costing users in fuel poverty a “disproportionate amount” for what little gas and electricity they can afford, the bureau has found. There are around 7.2 million people on prepayment meters in the UK and several thousand in the district of Stratford. Despite Stratford’s reputation as an affluent area, the bureau is being forced to come to the aid of more and more people living in fuel poverty on an increasingly regular basis.
Misaki Morita from Japan visited England for the Shakespeare Birthday Celebrations and while here saw Tread the Boards Theatre Company’s Othello, which ran until Sunday and returns to the Attic Theatre for the Stratford Arts Festival…
I SAW Othello, Shakespeare’s great tragedy about love and jealously performed by Tread the Boards Theatre Company at the Attic Theatre on my last evening in Stratford.
There are two things which I admired about the production’s theatrical scenery and lighting. The first is the use of the net as part of the set. It presented an image of the sea surrounding Venice, but for me it seemed like a metaphor for the trap set by Iago for Othello and others. Secondly, the green light used for stage lighting. Needless to say, it was used to express Othello’s jealousy. Though this kind of lighting was within expectations for me, the effect of it was just beyond.
I was shocked by the strong emotion of Othello, played by Nick Doughlin, which was enhanced by the illumination. A scene lighted by the green illumination cannot be seen in real life, yet the scene had a kind of realness. Methinks it is because we had experienced such kind of feeling at least once in our own lives and the scene reminded us of it.
I also loved the way Iago, played by John-Robert Partridge, gave the audience a glance almost every time when he left the stage. It gave me a sense of comradeship by sharing the secret with him. By that and the strong soliloquies of Shakespeare’s own hands, I was enticed into his world without noticing. Now I think I understood why British people love Iago and other Shakespeare villains.
Lastly, Othello’s smile towards Desdemona (Rebecca Bell) in Act 1 Scene 3 (when he first saw Desdemona on stage) was really impressive for me. Her father, furious with rage was in his presence, nevertheless his smile described that he really loved her and was so happy with her. It seemed for me that at that moment, he was no more a cruel soldier or a great general, but a man in love. I found it a really interesting interpretation and it is related to the saddest lines in Act 5 Scene 2, “Then must you speak of one that lov’d not wisely but too well.”
Othello, directed by Jess Hill, returns to the Attic Theatre at The Lazy Cow, Bridgefoot, Stratford, on 24th and 25th May. For details and tickets contact www.stratforduponavonartsfestival.co.uk