An urgent call is going out for welcoming, friendly, outgoing recruits to come forward and add an extra dimension to Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday Celebrations in his home town on Saturday 26 April 2014.
A major sponsor has come forward to help organisers of this year’s historic Shakespeare’s Birthday Celebrations in Stratford recruit special “Play Makers” to mirror the success that the world-famous ‘Games Makers’ brought to London 2012 Olympic Games.
Working with the celebration organisers, the owners of Geraud Markets UK, and their partners LSD Promotions Ltd believe the easily identifiable and engaging “Games Makers,” who acted as information points, were the unexpected success story of the Olympic Games as they helped people at the sporting venues around the Capital.
Training will be provided by Stratforward’s own Town Hosts as an extension of the existing tourist guide service, and it will be funded by a generous financial contribution from Geraud Markets UK, the company behind the prestigious award-winning markets in Stratford-upon-Avon. Armed with knowledge of the geography and logistics of the event, the Play Makers will bring this expertise to life at arrival points and on the streets of Stratford upon Avon.
The donation will pay for the training, their distinctive yellow and black – ‘Ask Me’ – polo shirts, refreshments and a newly designed leaflet guide which will be given to the thousands of additional visitors expected on Saturday 26th April to mark the 450th anniversary of his birth.
“We know this year and 2016 - the 400th anniversary of his death – are going to increase footfall on what is already a very busy weekend for the town, said Sam Lloyd of Stratforward who will help train the new recruits.
“We have therefore been looking at how to welcome the extra guests in a warm and friendly way – just as the Games Makers did in London. They will serve as an extension of the work that the Town Hosts already perform – as the necessary eyes, ears and friendly faces welcoming the visitors to the town.”
“They will be deployed at strategic gateway points including the park & ride, railway stations and coach stops as well as around Rother Street market, which will extend the current engagement activity and make everyone who comes to Stratford feel part of the festival celebration,” she added.
Val Harris, Project Manager for Shakespeare’s Birthday Celebrations, added: “Thanks to the generosity of Geraud Markets UK and their partners LSD Promotions Ltd, we can add this invaluable resource to this busy weekend of activity without burdening the tax payer.”
John Connolly for Geraud Markets UK, said: “Many people saw the enormous contribution of the Games Makers in London and we believe such a tour de force will help enhance what is already a major event in the Shakespeare calendar. Their deployment in and around the town and its gateways will direct footfall to the best vantage points to witness the Procession and the People’s Pageant as well as the numerous other activities Stratford has on offer that weekend”.
The organisers are looking for Stratford District residents of all ages who want to be involved in making this special event a success. It will be an added advantage if they already know the town well.
“We will be offering training and giving everyone clear responsibilities for the event. All will be wearing bright tee-shirts and positioned around the town to be welcoming and helpful,” said Sam Lloyd.
“We will be holding a training evening for interested parties to come along to,” she said.
The weekend is famous for the jubilant flag-waving crowds that will line the streets of the Elizabethan market town as actors, foreign diplomats and civic dignitaries join a 1,000-strong grand Birthday Procession through the streets on Saturday April 26 as the town – and the world – pays tribute to England’s most famous playwright and poet.
This will be followed by a community pageant where locals and spectators can join the throng of costumed players, musicians and creative groups celebrating this milestone anniversary.
Shakespeare is thought to have been born on 23 April 1564 and then died the same date 52 years later (1616), the day the country also celebrates its patron saint, St George.
Anyone interested in being a Play Maker can contact Sam Lloyd on 01789 268291 or via email at email@example.com
Further information about the weekend can be found on www.shakespearesbirthday.org.uk