Group at Anne Hathaway's cottage.
Mitch Raftery greets Prince Charles during a parade on the streets of Stratford.
The Merry Wives of Windsor on stage at the Globe Theatre in 2008 (left) and the front of the Royal Shakespeare Company Courtyard Theatre in summer 2008 (right).
Jen Schauber (2008)
"This trip was a dream come true. By the end, I had fallen in love with Stratford and didn’t want to leave. The plays were amazing, and the Shakespeare Centre wonderful. I became so immersed in Shakespeare that I started thinking in his language! Between the talks, the Q & A’s with actors and directors, workshops, tours, and the plays, this was the trip of a lifetime for a Bard-o-phile like myself!"
Corey Ahearn (2005)
"The Shakespeare study was easily one of the best experiences of my life. This trip is for everyone. Stratford is an absolute paradise for those even remotely interested in Shakespeare. Not only do you get to see a bunch of world-class Shakespeare-era plays performed by one of the the best classical companies in the world, but you also get unlimited access to The Shakespeare Institute's vast collection of materials, library and archives and such, which you can use for personal study. I had more fun in Stratford with the group than just about any other time in my life."
"I recommend this study trip without any reservations whatsoever."
Danielle Doubt (2010)
"Until I traveled to Stratford-Upon-Avon, I was not a fan of Shakespeare the man, or Shakespeare the poet. Yet something clicked in the summer of 2010 when I signed up for the Summer Shakespeare Program. I don’t know if it was the enthusiasm of the group, the chance to meet with actors from the Royal Shakespeare Company, seeing Shakespeare’s home, or the opportunity to see his plays performed at multiple venues by multiple troupes, but I became a Shakespeare convert. Something about that trip allowed me to access Shakespeare’s art in such a way that I found myself crying throughout a performance of King Lear, or mulling phrases from a play over and over as I walked through the cobbled streets of the town. The ability to appreciate Shakespeare was such a gift—my desire to access the intricacies of emotion behind the words in any book, my appreciation for performing arts, and my joy when I meet a fellow Shakespeare lover all have enriched my journeys ever since my time with the Summer Shakespeare Program."
Jamie Roberts (2008)
"As one of the non-English majors on this trip, I wasn’t totally sure what I was getting myself into when I signed up. But when we had a group makeup and wig workshop with an experienced artist on the first day of class, I knew I’d be able to handle the course! I was happy with how prepared I was from our pre-departure classes and felt I had the basic foundation for knowing how to appreciate Shakespeare. What made this trip so special was the group of people who came—the fact that very few people knew one another before coming and then left with close friendships that otherwise might never have developed makes this experience the epitome of St. Mary’s."
Brian Tennyson (2010)
"The Shakespeare study tour was an amazing experience for me. I’d been a huge Shakespeare fan for years and was very excited to be able to go on this trip. It did not disappoint. Stratford upon Avon is a beautiful place full of Shakespearean history and performance and, thanks to this study tour, I got to experience it in a way that would have been very difficult as any other sort of tourist. Between the performances by the Royal Shakespeare Company at the theater in Stratford, our discussions of the plays as a group, and the time I was able to spend in one of the world’s best libraries of material on Shakespeare and his plays, my appreciation for and love of The Bard only deepened."
"My three weeks in Stratford included plenty of adventure, camaraderie, and relaxation outside of the theater and seminar room. From the single afternoon spent in a row boat on the Avon to the many spent in the tea shops on Henley street, I made friendships with my fellow travelers that have lasted for years already and I’m sure will continue for years to come!"
Zach Pajak (2008)
"Shakespeare Studies in Britain is, to quote the Bard himself, “Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful, and yet again, wonderful” (Celia, As You Like It). Every moment of every day is genuinely fulfilling, with engaging events, lectures, and discussions held at the Shakespeare Centre, vibrant productions at the Royal Shakespeare Company theatres as well as at London’s Globe Theatre, an amazing play reading with RSC actors, and so much freedom to explore Stratford on your own. Brimming with Bardophilia, Shakespeare Studies in Britain is a rare, beautiful experience to share—like some Midsummer month’s dream!"
Alex Swope (2008)
"Before this trip, I thought I might be in the right place as an English major and wasn’t quite sure whether I liked Shakespeare very much at all. Afterwards, I am sure I am an English major, and I have a new and burgeoning love not only for Shakespeare but for theater in general."
Kelsey Branch (2008)
"I enjoyed myself immensely on this trip. Not only did it expand my knowledge and appreciation of Shakespeare’s life and works, but it also allowed me to create friendships I otherwise might not have had. The diversity of students on this trip enriched the experience and brought together a spectrum of personalities and interests. To quote the Brits, these weeks have been 'brilliant!'"
Melissa Adams (2010)
"Studying with the RSC and Shakespeare Center opened my eyes to innovative techniques for teaching Shakespeare to my own students. As RSC actor Gruffudd Glyn so aptly put it during our post-performance session with him, "Why would you make your students sit and just read the play? My teachers made me do that, and I hated it! Make your students play with it!" The things I learned on the Summer Shakespeare course not only makes studying Shakespeare more appealing to my students, it also breaks down the Shakespeare “language barrier” and provides students with an unique opportunity express their creativity and really connect with Shakespeare’s characters. Thank you CBs and RSC for this amazing opportunity! (And meeting Sam Troughton was a personal highlight I will never forget!)"
Lisa Davidson (2010)
In the early afternoon on our first day, JCB sat us down on the banks of the Avon outside of Trinity Church where Shakespeare is buried, and she read to us Ben Jonson’s dedication from the front of Shakespeare’s First Folio. Certain lines stand out to my memory:
‘…Sweet Swan of Avon, what a sight it were
To see thee in our waters yet appear,
And make those flights upon the banks of Thames,
That so did take Eliza and our James!’
It was at this moment that the swans swimming in the Avon drew our attention towards its still waters, almost as if they could hear the poetry being read. In that moment, Shakespeare had never been more alive to me. Indeed, Shakespeare is not dead. I met him on the banks of the Avon, and he is very much living.