We all know about the plays (Macbeth = bloodbath, Romeo & Juliet = don’t buy your wedding outfit).

But what about Shakespeare’s Village? This is the part of York’s pioneering pop-up theatre that everyone can enjoy, whether or not you have a ticket to the four plays inside.

The village – found next to Clifford’s Tower in the Castle car park – is kind of a modern recreation of the street food and entertainment from Will’s days. It’s free to go in – so what’s there?

Food and drink

No cockles though
Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre has enlisted the help of Yorkshire chef Brian Turner to put together a feast of food and drink.

Prices
  • Pint of cider: £5
  • Gin or vodka: £4.50
  • Tea and coffee: £2
  • Yorkshire pudding, pies and gravy: £4-£5
  • Moules Mariniere: £7
  • Yorkshire brisket BBQ burger: £6.50
  • Bag of crisps: £3.50

Visitors are served food from Tudor-style, oak-framed and reed-thatched huts, and can gorge themselves on typical Elizabethan grub such as popcorn – a rumoured favourite of Shakespeare himself!

Other food options for those visiting Shakespeare’s Village include the Mussel Pot & Grill and the Yorkshire Pudding Pie Company, whose pies are advertised as being ‘proper tasty, the pie without the pastry’ – a rhyming couplet of which Will himself would be proud.


In a similar style to the Yorkie Pud Yorkshire pudding wraps from the York Roast Co which broke the internet, the meal seeks to amalgamate two of the greatest foodstuffs, pie and Yorkshire pudding.

The Bear Arms is keeping it local, offering regional-themed snacks including Yorkshire crisps and Yorkshire cider.

Have a pint before the play

Entertainment

Entertainment is provided with free wagon performances and typical Elizabethan entertainment including juggling jesters and musicians.

When we visited, it was York tour guide Mad Alice offering live entertainment. Alice – real name Alicia Stabler, has led the Bloody Tour of York for five years.


Another piece being performed in the village is a drunken scene from The Tempest. Directed by Angie Millard it features Caliban as a street person and Trinculo (Trinny) and Stephano (Steph) as women on a hen night!

A team from the York Dungeon are also involved in the entertainment.

According to the official website, there will also be “medieval music as well as silent black and white Shakespeare movies from the early 1900s”.

Elizabethan garden

The Romeo and Juliet garden for romantics

There’s also a small Romeo and Juliet garden, created by Yorkshire garden designer Sally Tierney, in homage to the star-crossed lovers.

It comes complete box-edged hedges, roses and herb beds. One end is dedicated to Juliet, planted with soft romantic colours, and the other to Romeo who has stronger shades.

And if you never want to forget the pop-up Shakespeare experience, there are plenty of souvenirs to be snapped up.

These include pens (£4), mugs (£6), water bottles (£10) and slogan T-shirts (‘Puck Knows!’) which costs £10-£12.

Gallery

A bear behind
Will and chill
My kingdom for a pie
If you’re really hungry, have a head on a stick
Mad Alice is among those offering live entertainment
Alice and a brave volunteer
You can stay on the wagon though
Typical York scenes
Shakespearian souvenirs
Blooming nice

Another view of the garden

Flocking in
A view from the hill
The theatre is next to the Eye of York and its merry-go-round
Will and chill
Selling shedloads of tickets