It goes without saying that being in Stratford-upon-Avon, no matter how long for, has its perks. It’s a beautiful town, with a fascinating past and a buzzing arts scene which the RSC is undoubtedly at the centre of. But if you somehow find yourself with a few spare hours then come and spend some time at The Other Place.
I know, I was hardly going to recommend pitching a blanket out on the Bancroft Gardens. But seriously, The Other Place is a brilliant space to chill out, even if you’re not seeing a show. Sit down with a book and a coffee now the weather is starting to cool down and picnics outside seem like less of a good idea!
To prove my point, I headed down to The Other Place one afternoon to check out just how you could spend a few hours there…
Relaxing in a snug corner near the wall which commemorates the work of Buzz Goodbody and her successors with a hot drink in one hand and a book in the other, was really peaceful. While I sipped my coffee, people bustled around, gathering together at tables and dashing through doors marked with the words ‘Rehearsal Room’. I like to imagine what new work being developed just meters away from where we all sit and drink our coffees! Susie’s Cafe Bar at The Other Place was not a bad place to sit and people-watch for a while. A sign advertised loads of free evening events at The Other Place, including a free music night. Who doesn’t love free entertainment?
I decided to go on a From Page To Stage tour, which explores the process of a play from initial vision all the way through to performance. The tour began with a video which gave some historical information about The Other Place, as well as Buzz Goodbody. Then we were allowed to peak into a rehearsal room. We saw some of the elements that bring a show to life, such as the model boxes, which are created to give an idea of what a set will look like. I even got look into the Costume Hire Store. It was amazing to see some of the costumes which have graced the RSC’s stages over the years.
I headed back to Susie’s Cafe Bar and had a Naked Hickory Smoked Veggie hot dog for lunch. I was fueled up and ready to face the rest of the day, and so I tracked down a tree in the gardens opposite The Other Place, which was planted to commemorate Buzz Goodbody.
It’s funny how you can live in one town for so long and not actually ever explore it properly – I had a look around Stratford-upon-Avon and hit up all the mega tourist destinations. There’s certainly a lot to see, especially if you’re a Shakespeare enthusiast. First I headed to Shakespeare's Schoolroom, to see where Shakespeare was educated and try and soak up some of his literary genius. Then I visited Hall's Croft, the home of Shakespeare's daughter Susanna and her husband Dr John Hall. It had a lovely fragrant herb garden which I spent a little while exploring before popping into Holy Trinity Church where the bard himself is buried. Being so close to the resting place of a legendary figure like William Shakespeare was kind of unbelievable.
On my way home, I wandered into The Other Place again to check out the Play On music night which showcased a local upcoming musician. The Other Place was relaxed and it was great to just chat and have a drink at the bar whilst listening to the music. The featured acts for Play On at The Other Place are already listed online.
The Other Place has far more than just a cafe. It’s a vital cog in the wheel that is the RSC, with rehearsal rooms utilised in the daytime, and lots of events in the evening too. The latest Mischief Festival is on now.
So there we have it, have I convinced you to come down to The Other Place yet?