Councillor presents theatre with Shakespearean gift

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A Stratford District Councillor was guest of honour at the opening of a new theatre inspired by Shakespeare’s Globe in Holland this month.

The Shakespeare Theatre Company Diever have been performing Dutch translations of Shakespeare’s plays for 70 years, and their new Globe theatre, which cost £250,000 to build, will offer a spectacular setting for the group’s productions.

Councillor Mike Brain was invited to the grand opening of the Shakespeare in Diever Globe on 12th August, taking with him a special gift to add some Shakespearean authenticity.

The group invited Cllr Mike Brain to the grand opening because he has supported the company for a number of years, but made a special request for him to bring a wooden object connected with the Bard if possible.

Not one to disappoint, Mike contacted the Birthplace Trust who responded by offering a very special donation to the theatre company.

Mike presented a cross section of mulberry tree from New Place, supposedly from a tree descended from one planted by Shakespeare in 1609 on the order of King James I.

The gift was accompanied by a letter from the Birthplace Trust vouching its authenticity.

Mike’s connection with the Shakespeare Theatre Company Deiver stretches back to 2006 when he first went over to Holland to watch a performance, though the company originally played in Stratford back in 1988.

At Mike’s invitation the company returned to the town performing ‘As You Like It’ in 2007.

Their experiences of Stratford and of watching a performance at the Swan Theatre inspired the company to create its own Globe Theatre.

The In Diever Globe Theatre holds up to 200 people and is made from 60sq metres of French Oak.

Mike said: “This company has a huge passion for Shakespeare and people come from all over Holland to watch them perform.

“They were so surprised when I arrived with the mulberry wood, I don’t think they expected me to bring anything, they were thrilled with it.

“To be given the opportunity to go up on stage and present it to the company was an honour and a pleasure, it was great to be able to share their passion for Shakespeare with them.

“I thought it was so kind for the Birthplace Trust to come up with a gift like that in less than 24 hours, and I’m very thankful for the efforts of Julia Howell for making it possible.”