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Christmas Window Competition

Nov 2014
Christmas Window Competition

Deck the Shops with boughs of holly,  Tis the season to be jolly”

Stratford Christmas Upon Avon Window Competition!

Free to enter to all businesses in Stratford Town Centre – shops, banks, estate agents, insurers etc.  The competition theme is Stratford is Christmas upon Avon!  There are two categories: Independent and National. 

Judging will be based on each display’s: 1) Overall impact. 2) Traditional style. 2) Effort involved.

You could be the lucky winner with a trophy, certificate & publicity, or a runner up!  Prizes at stake!

Enter by 30th November 2014

Judging will take place mid-December


 Winners will be notified and announced on Friday 19th December on Stratford’s Christmas website,,


Job Vacancy for a Stratford Town Host

Oct 2014

Do you have what it takes to be an ambassador for Stratford as a Town Host?  The role involves patrolling Stratford Town Centre and supporting visitors and businesses!

Stratforward Business Improvement District (BID) is recruiting for a full time position of Town Host.  Who do you know would suit this role?

  • Working for Stratford BID, the Town Hosts are year round ambassadors for Stratford Town Centre and BID members.
  • You will be a friendly customer service professional and be able to demonstrate excellent communication and listening skills.
  • A comprehensive knowledge of and passion for Stratford-upon-Avon is essential.
  • Must be prepared to work weekends.

Please apply with your CV and a covering letter outlining your suitability for the role to:

Any questions please email or call 01789 268 291.

You can download a copy of the Job Description here.

Entries to be in by November Friday 7th November.  

River Festival 2014 matches last year's record-breaking success

Jul 2014

Organisers of the sixth annual Stratford River Festival are lowering the sails after another successful event which matched last year’s record breaking success. 

The River Festival 2014 took place on Saturday and Sunday, 5th and 6th July and once again attracted around 50,000 people from across the Midlands.

One couple from Derbyshire was visiting the festival for the third time and spent the morning shopping in town, before enjoying the wide range of entertainment and stalls on offer at the Recreation Ground.

Ruth Wood, events manager at Stratforward, said: “The festival went really well and was, once again, extremely well attended. We definitely matched last year’s record-breaking visitor numbers, while some traders have reported their most successful sales weekend ever.

“Despite reports to the contrary, the bad weather held off and visitors were able to enjoy everything the River Festival had to offer to its full effect. We would like to thank all the volunteers and organisations that helped us to make the festival such a success.”   

The festival welcomed back a host of popular favourites, such as the Craft Village, in which 22 local traders take centre stage selling their finest wares, a line-up of world-class bands and live performers, entertainment and a wide range of food and drink stalls.

Visitors could also be in with a chance of winning some great prizes from 20 town centre businesses in this year’s Treasure Trail.

The first day of the festival was rounded off by another awe-inspiring firework display by the returning Forest Fireworks on Saturday night.

For more information about Stratforward BID and upcoming news and events, visit   

Less than a week to go until 6th Stratford River Festival

Jun 2014

Organisers are counting down the days to the 6th annual Stratford River Festival on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th July. 

This year’s festival, which is once again organised by Stratforward Business Improvement District (BID), is hoping to recreate the record-breaking success of last year, attracting nearly 50,000 people from across the Midlands.

A host of popular favourites return to the event, such as the Craft Village, in which 22 local traders take centre stage selling their finest wares, a line-up of world-class bands and live performers, entertainment and a wide range of food and drink stalls.

Also making a triumphant return to the festival this year is the awe-inspiring firework display by Forest Fireworks on Saturday night.

Visitors could also be in with a chance of winning some great prizes from 20 town centre businesses in this year’s Treasure Trail.

For more information about the Stratford River Festival, visit  

Stratforward welcomes new BID manager

Jun 2014

The new manager of Stratforward Business Improvement District (BID) has been announced.

Karen Wild joined Stratforward on Monday, 2nd June at the start of the BID’s second, five-year term and will take responsibility for delivering the plans voted for by businesses last September.

Having previously worked with local authorities in Colchester and Bolton, where she established a scheme offering similar services to a BID, Karen advised city centre initiatives in London, Belfast and Carlisle.

She also worked with retailers in the fashion industry for 13 years, developing a clear understanding of what businesses want and need to be happening and how best to deliver it.

Karen said her first priority will be to meet with members and work with them to find out how they would like to see the BID 2 projects delivered.

She will also meet with the heads of services, including Stratford District and Town Councils.

Karen said: “Top of my list is to get up to speed, find out where things currently stand and engage with businesses.

“I’m excited to really get to grips with the BID 2 projects and establish the best and most efficient way in which to deliver these in partnership with our member businesses.

“I’ve met a couple of independents so far and had a fantastic response. They’ve been very, very supportive and I’m looking forward to working closely with all of our members over the next five years.”

Maria Warters, chairman of the BID, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Karen into the role of BID manager.

“Her experience in town centre management, working with the private sector and running her own business, can only mean great things for the delivery of our exciting plans, hugely benefitting our members businesses in growing trade for the town as a whole.”

For more information about Stratforward, visit, email or call 01789 292718.

Town Trust brings stories of Stratford-upon-Avon back to life

May 2014

The memories and experiences of some of Stratford’s most recognisable residents and unsung heroes, with a combined life in the town of more than 600 years, will be made public for the first time during this year’s Stratford-upon-Avon Arts Festival.

Created from recorded interviews and conversations with people from different social backgrounds, present situations and future possibilities, the collection forms the Stratford Listening Project, which aims to create a reminiscence soundscape of society, business and culture in the town from 1940 to the present day.

Funded by the Stratford Town Trust and in keeping with its aim to bring the community together, the stories were shared by Escape Community Arts with school pupils, community groups and arts organisations, who have used them as inspiration to create visual representations of the stories they have heard.

During the Stratford-upon-Avon Arts Festival, which runs from 22nd May to 1st June, the Stratford Listening Project will be made public for the first time as the recordings are posted online and an exhibition of these visual representations is held in Town Square.

Ian Parkes, the project’s director and organiser of the Stratford-upon-Avon Arts Festival said that while the project is now being made public, its current form is just the beginning and can be easily added too.

He said: “The legacy of the Stratford Listening Project is simply that. Listen to the stories of the people around you and capture them before they are lost.

“The project has already connected people from many different backgrounds and varying ages and has the ability to continue to do so for many years to come. We have a history and story to be proud of in Stratford and this must be recorded and archived for generations to come.

“We are very grateful to the Town Trust for funding this amazing project and the artists and students who were inspired to create the accompanying artwork based on these fascinating stories. Without the Town Trusts’ support of incredible projects such as this, they simply wouldn't be possible.”

The Stratford Listening Project exhibition will run from 24th May to 1st June, and will be accompanied by several related events during the festival, including Songs from the Listening Project,  ‘Make Do and Mend’ Toy Making Workshop and ‘Recreate the High Street’ Model Making Workshop.

For full details on these events, and a full line-up of the Stratford-upon-Avon Arts Festival, visit


Traffic-free Festival of Motoring pulls in record crowds

May 2014

Thousands of visitors filled the streets of Stratford to enjoy a celebration of all-things automotive as the second Stratford Festival of Motoring made a triumphant return to the town this bank holiday weekend.

Footfall figures in the town centre were up 10 per cent on Monday compared to last year’s already record bank holiday figures, as people flocked in to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the spectacle of more than 200 classic and specialist cars on display.

This year, organisers arranged for many of the roads in the town centre to be closed off to traffic on Sunday and Monday, allowing exhibitors more space to display their vehicles, and visitors room to enjoy the event to the full.

Crowds gathered in the sunshine to wave on the event’s highlight – a cavalcade of dozens of unique cars dating back more than 100 years, from stunning supercars to vintage classics as it drove a leisurely route from Bridge Street through to High Street.

Leading the spectacle was the Bard Car – the imaginative creation designed by young people from the Escape Community Arts project, to mark the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth.

As well as admiring the variety of unique and beautiful cars on show, visitors were able to experience the thrill of ‘off-roading’ for themselves, thanks to Land Rover Experience Gaydon, which bought its unique Terrapod to Rother Market.

Queues of people filled the market, to take on the state-of-the-art, mobile, man-made track, which enables drivers to experience the all-terrain ability of the Land Rover vehicle range, while budding young car enthusiasts joined in the motoring fun with the Rebel Replicas, a selection of battery-operated scale models of Land Rover Vehicles.

Also a resounding success was the new Blossom Trail run, which took drivers on a picturesque route through the Vale of Evesham and its orchards, as well as the Test Hills Run, a shorter route around some of the steepest hills south of Stratford, combined with a treasure hunt, to test participants’ concentration skills.

Event organiser, Adrian Grubb, from Stratforward, said that closing off the roads in the town centre had transformed this year’s event.

“Last year’s inaugural event was a great success, but this year’s decision to stop traffic coming through had a frankly amazing effect on the atmosphere – the sense of enjoyment and freedom to wander around freely was fantastic,” he explained.

“In fact, the numbers we have don’t do it justice – our footfall counters only record people on the pavements, but due to road closures, more people were on the streets, so I’d estimate the visitor numbers were actually much higher.”

He added: “A number of town centre business owners commented on how buzzing the town was and how people were staying longer in the centre – we even had unanimous applause from the crowd when asking if they enjoyed the traffic-free event – you can’t get better than that.”

Fellow organiser, Tony Merrygold, managing director of Shakespeare Country, said: “We are delighted with this year’s event – everyone I have spoken to has only positive things to say about it.

“It drew in people of all ages and interests, from a newly-married couple making sure they visited before setting off on honeymoon, to a family of three brothers – one who came all the way from Surrey just to be here.”


Shakespeare honoured with his very own set of birthday wheels

Apr 2014

As the town of Stratford-upon-Avon celebrates the 450th birthday of its most famous son, William Shakespeare, the Stratford Festival of Motoring is honouring the Bard in its own unique way.

With just over a week to go until this year’s festival on Sunday, 4th and Monday, 5th May, organisers have awarded Escape Community Arts with £500 to design the Bard car – a car Shakespeare would have driven.

The car takes inspiration from Shakespeare’s time and features a half-timbered design with a modern day twist, including Shakespeare’s characters and the famous Yorick Skull.

It has been designed by young people, aged between eight and 21, who take part in Escape’s Youth Volunteer Programme every Saturday.

The group will also be getting some help from the Men’s Shed group as Stratford’s older gents to finalise the design, using their wood working skills to help finish the construction.

The Bard car will lead this year’s Cavalcade during both days of the festival. Featuring dozens of unique cars, the Cavalcade will start in Bridge Street at around midday and make its way at a steady pace through Waterside and Old Town, Church Street, Chapel and High Street.

Visitors to the festival will also be given the opportunity to take part in a unique experience as Land Rover Experience Gaydon, which is part of JLR, bring their off-road experience, the Terrapod, to Rother Market.

The Terrapod is a state-of-the-art mobile man-made track which gives visitors the chance to experience the unique all-terrain ability of the Land Rover vehicle range.

Budding young car enthusiasts will also have the opportunity to be introduced to the driving experience thanks to the Rebel Replicas, a selection of battery-operated scale models of Land Rover vehicles.

The family-friendly festival will also feature a bouncy castle, go-karting , face-painting and craft activities in Town Square.

Returning to the festival this year are two ‘runs’  - The Test Hills Run, which this year takes a different, slightly shorter route and includes a treasure hunt, while new for 2014 is The Evesham Blossom Trail, making for a beautiful run through the Warwickshire and Worcestershire countryside.

For more information about the Stratford Festival of Motoring, including the full line-up and a list of road closures, visit

Shakespeare, Shakers and the Swingin' Sixties come together for Stratford-upon-Avon Arts Festival

Apr 2014

Shakespeare, Shakers and the Swingin’ 60s come together to form the eclectic line-up of Fringe Theatre during this year’s Stratford-upon-Avon Arts Festival.

The live performances kick-off with one of Shakespeare’s best-loved tragedies, Othello, as part of the Bard’s 450th birthday celebrations.

Returning to the Attic Theatre for two nights on 24th and 25th May following its regional tour, Othello is the dark and brooding tale of the Moor of Venice, whose world is brought crashing down by his villainous Ancient Iago. 

Sure to be a highlight of this year’s Fringe Theatre is ShakespeareWallah, which comes to The QE Hall Shakespeare Birthplace Trust all the way from Mumbai from 24th May to 1st June.

Also part of Shakespeare’s birthday celebrations, ShakespeareWallah is a tribute to the man himself by Salim Ghouse. “Wallah” is an Indian suffix which refers to a person whose work has become one with his identity.

As an old actor-clown reminisces about life and art after his Swan Song, in this show after the last show, an inspired performance of a lifetime unfolds unwittingly before an empty auditorium.

During the Festival, the Attic Theatre will play host to a wide-range of performances, including John Godber’s hilarious Shakers – told from the point of view of ladies working all night in a cocktail bar – from 25th May to 1st June, while Godber’s Bouncers returns from 24th to 31st May, following last year’s sell-out success. Both shows are presented by Tread the Boards.

The family-friendly Back in Time For Breakfast, presented by Munchkins and Monsters Theatre Company, also runs at the Attic Theatre from 24th May to 1st June, telling the story of Millie, a young girl whose family live and work on a secluded lighthouse island, who one night makes a wish on a shooting star that she can travel and have lots of exciting adventures …

Completing the line-up at the Attic Theatre is The Last Unicorn, – a love story between a care home worker who believes she’s a unicorn and a glamorous American singer – Going Back: Female Icons of the 1960s - a musical journey reliving the glitz and glamour of the decade’s singing superstars from Dusty Springfield to Diana Ross – and Past Recall, by Clive Depper, a play which explores the importance of memories and shows the tragic consequences when they are tampered with.

Rounding off the Fringe Theatre line-up is Is There Life by Ian Harris at The Bear Pit Theatre. The damaged Sergeant Dangerfield finds himself burdened with another problem – his own personal prisoner of war, who is determined not to make life easy for his insane enemy. 

Accompanying the live performances will also be a host of Fringe Theatre workshops and events.

The Stratford-upon-Avon Arts Festival is a multidisciplinary arts festival welcoming names from the world of comedy, film, visual arts and fringe theatre.

A full line-up and more information on the festival can be found at  

Stratford-upon-Avon Arts Festival celebrates local music talent and national rising stars

Apr 2014

The best of Stratford-upon-Avon’s musical talent will be celebrated alongside the country’s rising stars during the town’s annual Arts Festival.

This year’s festival, which takes place between 21st May and 1st June, welcomes performances from the Stratford Folk Club, Unity Roots Productions, Stratford-upon-Avon Jazz Club and Orchestra of the Swan.

During the 10-day festival, free music events will take place at venues throughout the town, such as The Church Street Townhouse, Stratford-upon-Avon Picturehouse, The Bear Freehouse and Holy Trinity Church as well as ticketed performances at the new Stratford Arts House and The Chapel at Shakespeare No.1.

Ian Parkes, director of the Stratford-upon-Avon Arts Festival, said: “Stratford is lucky to be home to some incredible musical talent, but this is not enough by itself, without the promoters, venues and managers to put performances on, we wouldn’t have half of the musical events in Stratford upon Avon that we do.

“Music is something which always captures the hearts of Stratford’s residents and its visitors and this year’s offering will also aim to bring local and national stars to the fore.”

A host of rising stars from across the UK is scheduled to perform during the festival, including one of the Midlands’ most exciting new artists, Wes Finch, who performs a live show on Sunday, 1st June.

Tipped for greatness by BBC6 Music’s Tom Robinson and courted by the U.K’s major music labels, Wes has set to work on a new album with Mercury music prize producer Gerry Diver, the mastermind behind the albums of Sam Lee, Lisa Knapp and the Guardian 5* album The Hum by Tidow and O ‘Hooley.

Bank Holiday fun will be provided on Sunday, 25th May as Dave and his team at the Church Street Townhouse host The Peas, an incredible duo who use their musical skills and vocal magic to play some of your favourite songs in their own way. This great, fun evening is not to be missed with free entry.

The Stratford upon Avon Arts Festival supports young and emerging artists and appearing at the Stratford Folk Club are BBC Young Folk Award nominees David Gibb and Elly Lucas. This young, exciting folk duo plays a mixture of original and traditional folk music.

In the three short years since their 2011 nomination, the unstoppable duo has released two albums to critical acclaim and received extensive airplay on BBC Radio. Described by The Independent as “the future of folk”, David and Elly play at the Stratford upon Avon Folk Club on 21st May.

The Stratford upon Avon Arts Festival is a multidisciplinary arts festival welcoming names from the world of comedy, film, visual arts and fringe theatre.

More information on the festival can be found at