2019 Stratford Trip

Photo: Diane Naeckel

The annual trip to the Stratford Festival this year took place on October 22nd, where students traveled to watch Othello. For those who do not know about the Stratford trip, East students can take a bus to Stratford, Ontario to watch a Shakespeare play. 

The trip starts at school before 1st period where students going on the trip congregate so that their IDs can be checked. The students’ bubbling excitement is soon quenched when they board the charter bus that is equipped with a bathroom and comfortable seating. It takes approximately three hours plus the time spent at customs to get to Stratford. That gives students enough time to chat, do homework, or even make up a silent reading day with one of the English teachers aboard the bus. If one wishes to gaze out the window, this time of year is great to watch the beautifully colored autumn trees pass by. 

When the bus arrives at Stratford, students are free to walk around downtown Stratford. Ontario Street runs from the Stratford Festival and is lined with shops and restaurants in which students can take advantage of for lunch. A few options include Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Balzac’s Stratford (a cafe), and Pazzo Taverna and Pizzeria. After eating, one can walk along Lake Victoria on their way to the Stratford Festival (if the weather favors it). The walk is a good way to get your legs moving and also experience the dream-like Canadian infrastructure, as well as the beautiful houses across the lake. 

Once they arrive at the Shakespeare Festival, students gather around the “shiny Shakespeare” statue in front of the theater to receive their tickets. There also may be time to visit the gift shop next to the theater. Inside the theater, one can admire the impressive architecture. The theater is categorized as a thrust stage, which is inspired by the Elizabethan apron stage, ancient Greek amphitheaters, and Roman arenas. The design allows for the theatre to sit over 1,800 people, with no one being more than sixty-five feet away from the stage. The theater design along with the performance of the actors makes watching the Shakspere play an engrossing experience. What makes the experience all the more interesting is that the performance is professionally recorded on video. The recording is then broadcasted on Canadian TV and played in theaters across North America. During intermission, one can go up to the terrace which overlooks the gift shop and the park (again, if the weather favors it).

The way back includes a stop at a food court that has many options ranging from fast food to Mediterranean cuisine. Students will also have to make one last stop at customs before heading home. On return, the scenery is still marvelous to look at. If timed correctly, one may be able to see the sunset over the Niagara River which brings closure to a long day of entertainment. One can expect to be back at Williamsville East 9:00 pm, if not earlier, which allows you to get enough sleep to feel energized for school the next day. 

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