Coronavirus: William Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon birthplace to reopen

Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

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The impact of Covid-19 on Stratford-upon-Avon was “immediate”, the trust said in March

William Shakespeare’s birthplace is set to reopen to visitors next month.

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, which manages five homes connected to the world-renowned playwright, said it is only his home that will re-open on 1 August, thanks to a £900,000 grant.

The remainder will stay shut until 2021, while the trust hopes to access cash from the government’s £1.57bn arts support package.

A restructuring process of 240 employees is currently under way.

“We are a charity and we need to look at the best way to use our limited resources,” Rachael O’Connor Boyd, director of visitor experience and business development, said.

“But we’re also conscious of what we bring and the stories that we tell and the birthplace is an iconic place for the nation and a very important place for Stratford.”

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Rachael O’Connor Boyd said a lot of planning had gone into keeping visitors safe

The trust, which closed as the lockdown was brought in, expected to bring in £10m this year. But the enforced closure of properties, shops, and catering venues had caused a loss of £8.5m for 2021, it said.

Shakespeare’s Birthplace is reopening after the grant from Arts Council England’s emergency fund.

From next month, visitors will have to wear face coverings and book online. Entry tickets will also be timed and Elizabethan actors will no longer be around to greet and entertain visitors.

“I think that even if you don’t think you love Shakespeare, there’s something to discover about a humble boy from Stratford who had a grammar school education, who went on to become perhaps the most famous poet and playwright in the world and we should be rightly proud of that heritage.”

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Mary Arden’s Farm will remain closed until at least spring 2021

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