Stratford’s future comes into focus

The binoculars that will be looking into Stratford's future. Photo submitted.

FOR centuries, Stratford-upon-Avon has celebrated its illustrious status as the hometown of William Shakespeare. But what’s it like to be a local resident, sharing a town with millions of visitors from all over the world? What might the future look like?

Earlier this year, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the Royal Shakespeare Company commissioned an innovative artistic project to explore the experiences and perspectives of local people.

I See the Future is a bold piece of ‘playable’ public art that will temporarily transform the landscape of Stratford. Created in collaboration with the local community, two giant pairs of interactive binoculars will curiously appear in the town over this weekend of 6th to 8th September.

Developed by Anagram, an award-winning female-led creative company specialising in interactive storytelling and immersive experiences, I See the Future will offer a vision of Stratford 100 years on, as imagined by its people today. Supported by Watershed’s Creative Producers International programme and Arts Council England, the project marks the 250th anniversary of David Garrick’s Shakespeare Jubilee of 1769.

The Shakespeare Jubilee is considered to be the event that established the Shakespeare tourism industry as we know it today. Shakespeare and Garrick were visionaries, and they were instrumental in shaping Stratford.

But what could the future look like for the people of this town now? Residents of all ages and backgrounds have been contributing their hopes, dreams and imaginings for the future in a series of creative workshops throughout the summer. Their collective vision will come to life in stunning augmented reality inside the large-scale binoculars for people to interact with.

Official unveiling of the binoculars takes place today (Friday) at 10am on Henley Street and 10.45am on Bancroft Gardens.