Stratford’s historic Guildhall will open to the public for the very first time on 23rd April it has been confirmed.
The Guildhall, which is currently undergoing a £1.8million refurbishment, will open just in time for this year’s Shakespeare’s birthday celebrations and could attract around 100,000 visitors per year.
Earlier this month conservationists working at the 15th Century building discovered a medieval painting of John the Baptist on one of the internal timbers.
The find triggered a wave of excitement due to the rarity of such artworks.
Interest in the Grade I listed Guildhall is growing by the day, with a recent series of behind-the-scenes tours attracting in excess of 400 people.
It has been a tough balancing act for conservationists though, having to restore the building using authentic materials, whilst sensitively incorporating modern heating, power points and a lift.
When the restoration, which has been part funded by at £1.4million Heritage Lottery grant, is complete, visitors will get the chance to step into the Bard’s shoes by taking part in a live Tudor lesson.
The building would have played an important part in Shakespeare’s life and was the place where he may have been inspired to become a playwright after seeing live theatre performances.
Students from King Edward VI School will continue to use the Guildhall regularly for lessons, something they have been doing for centuries.
When finished, the Guildhall will open daily from 10am (11am on weekdays during term time), and entry will be £8.90 for adults and £5.50 for children.
Family tickets and concessions will also be available.
To find out more about Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall visit www.shakespearesschoolroom.org.