Thursday, 22 December 2016

It's now been 4 months since the Bard Walk and so I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know how the whole adventure went and to thank you again for your generosity.

At the start in Stratford...

What an incredible experience those 9 days were back in August. The 146 mile Shakespeare Way is subtitled 'a journey of imagination' and it certainly was.

When I started out from Holy Trinity Church on Saturday 13 August I had no idea what lay before me. I have had the privilege of meeting so many kind and generous people, whilst walking through some of this country's most beautiful countryside. The final mileage count was 155.

Along the way I was given access to some incredible places such Shakespeare's Birthplace, The Painted Room in Oxford and Ditchley Manor. 

The walk has made a difference to how I view Shakespeare, his work and family. I always thought that working 146 miles away from your family must have been difficult, and even in 2016 people work on the other side of the world form their families, but the biggest impact was realising how little you could communicate with them 400 years ago. There was no form of regular contact. Shakespeare had to rely on the Stratford merchants visiting London to bring news, and take news home. The likely fact that he didn't even know about his son's death for sometime is a sobering thought, but one now that I can appreciate much more.

I met such interesting people on the way. My hosts all had their own stories and lives that I touched for a brief 24 hours. Just in the same way as Will would have done at the inns he stayed in during his journey. I didn't have to go to Sri Lanka to learn about policemen watching the cricket or be invited to a party at Ditchley Manor - I heard stories about them. Just in the same way that Will didn't need to go to Venice to learn about merchants on the Rialto.

I even learnt the secret of life from one elderly gentlemen in his cut-off denim shorts...but naturally I've been sworn to secrecy!

Then there are the plays and sonnets themselves. There is so much to consider with these, but suffice to say, spending 9 days in the countryside that Will experienced, it has afforded me a fresh view of them. 

Over the last months I have been editing the film I made of the Walk, and I am hoping this will be ready later in the New Year - it's not easy cramming 9 days into 45 mins!

Finally, a huge thank you to everyone who supported me. Everyone's generosity, from providing accommodation to donating money, to giving me a jam donut, has been both humbling and inspiring.

I am very pleased to say that so far the New Beginnings Campaign has received over £38,550 in donations, and the Bard Walk has been an integral part of that.

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