I 'heart' Stratford Upon Avon
I had an extraordinary day in Stratford last week, which I would like to describe in reverse order. Now, I've never been a fan of Stratford Upon Avon, which is a shame because my ancestors are from the area. I think its because the place never seemed to live up to the world famous name. Any time I've been there, I've felt as if I could just as well have been in any other Midlands Town and Solihull Town Centre in particular. Now, the end of my day in Stratford changed all that because I went to visit the new look Royal Shakespeare Company. The tower they have built on the edge of the building is a stroke of genius. You go up and suddenly you get a whole new perspective on things - the river, the church where Shakespeare is buried, the Warwickshire countryside around you. Suddenly, Stratford was much more than traffic jams, tourists and small houses, much more than shopping malls dressed in tudor beams.
Inspired by this I decided that the top of the tower was the best place to make a call to Turbulence producer Natasha Carlish and tell her about my afternoon at Stratford College. Julia and I had just shown the film to thirty three 17 year olds who had been very enthusiastic indeed. Natasha had also shown the film in Hereford that day and we exchanged notes excitedly. Indeed, Stratford may have been a breakthrough moment. Whilst older audiences have been positive about the film, it felt as though this age group wanted to 'wear the t shirt', they wanted to make it theirs. This is going to be so vital to our film because we have none of the tools available to a big budget movie and our success will be built entirely on an engaged and enthusiastic audience. Perhaps the feeling in the room can be summed up by one audience members description of watching the film -
'It was like going to a party. At first you don't know anyone, then you relax, have a drink maybe, and then by the end you think I JUST LOVE THESE PEOPLE!'
My own feeling at the top of the tower, on a sunny afternoon, after a screening like that can be summed up by the bard -
'My crown is called content, a crown that seldom Kings enjoy'