How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.
The Merchant of Venice
April 2015. Maria’s Children Art Center, the former orphanage №4 (now Family care assistance center “Sputnik”) and the Filimonki children’s home-orphanage “Solnyshko” visited England again to participate in the annual William Shakespeare’s Anniversary Celebrations in the poet’s native Stratford-upon-Avon.
Before that we spent three unforgettable days in London in the company of Maria’s Childrenpermanent donors Olga Makharinskaya, Karina Baldry and their friends who generousely showed us most famous historic places and museums.
During these several days we managed to visit incredible number of places of interest and, of course, many times we rode the London’s famous red double-deckers and explored the subway. Our acquaintance with the city started with the Museaum of London, then we proceeded with the St’ Paul’s Cathedral, the Big Ben, the London Millenium Footbridge, the Westminster Bridge, Hyde Park, the National Gallery, the Natural History Museum, the British Museum, Tate Modern, Trafalgar Square, walked around the Buckinham Palace, along the Thames embankment. In the end the children had an opportunity to get a bird’s eye view of London from the huge London Eye observation wheel.
We express personal gratitude to Konstantin Pinaev who showed us London from an unusual angle and familiarized us with the street art of modern young artist such as Stik.
Feeling happy and satisfied, we head off to Stratford-upon-Avon where Minty, the landlady, lodged our friendly and cheerful company at her Church Farm Barns - a cozy hotel in an old English country style -, and where our changeless guide, translator and friend Pasha Novichkov was waiting for us with his friend and assistant Masha Orlova.
During 5 days that left before celebration of the Shakespeare’s 451st Birthday our restless team actively familiarize themselves with the local culture and history, admired the picturesque nature, which altogether undoubtedly nurtured the poet’s talent.
First we visited the ancient Warwick Castle where the children had a dress rehearsal of the mini-performance they had prepared long before in Moscow specially for the Shakespeare’s festival.
The Royal Shakespeare’s Theatre (from its viewing platform one can observe the entire city), Anne Hathaway’s (Shakespeare’s wife) house, the Nash’s House (where the poet was born), Mary Arden’s Farm (a real farm of the XVIth century that belonged to Sakespeare’s grandmother and grandfather) – all that we were lucky to see with our own eyes which helped us better understand the spirit of that époque and prepare ourselves to the official celebrations.
Next we visited Yanush and his bird’s farm where he showed us such predatory birds as owls, hawks etc.. The owl Talia was a real “star” – she winged its way through the air, posed a little bit in front of us and even allowed us to touch its feathers!
We also sailed on a boat along the very same river Avon. We thank the captain Fiona and her team for such an unforgettable journey! The children were very excited because for many of them it was the first boat trip in the life.
Beyond that we visited the King Edward VI School where Shakespeare’s used to study, sat at ancient desks, at one of which the poet probably was sitting and grinding away at his books, met with the school’s archivist and, of course, with the Principle Perry Mills who gave our children neck-ties and badges – the pupil’s distinctive emblems – as a gift.
After that our children played football with the King Edward VI School team and… the friendship won!
In the meantime the Shakespeare’s festival approached.
In the center of Stratford there was held a ceremony of raising flags of countries-participants in the Shakespeare’s Anniversary Celebrations. The festive parade, in which we participated as one of Russia’s representatives, stretched out along the central streets and ended up in the Holy Trinity Church, where Shakespeare was buried, with a flower-laying ceremony, after which costumed performances in different spots of the city began.
Our children appeared in characters of Hamlet, Lady Macbeth, Romeo and Juliette, Othello and Dezdemona, young Shakespeare and his muse…
On our last day in Stratford-upon-Avon we visited the Charlecote Park with Maria’s Children old friend Rostislav Ordovsky-Tanaevsky Blanco and his wife Tatiana, who treated us to delicious English sandwiches on a beautiful lawn. What a fabulous end of the journey to England!
On the next day we had to leave, and one of the Shakespeare’s festival organisers, Marion, came to say “good-bye” to our children. Thank you, dear Marion!
See you next year!