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since 1997 | by maryann johanson

where the Stratford theater crowd hangs out

This is the streetside patio at the Dirty Duck, right down the street from the RSC’s Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon… and it’s where lots of actors stop by for a pint after the show. There wasn’t a theater crowd the night I took this shot, but a few nights later, the patio was mobbed by a bunch of cast members from the current production of The Merchant of Venice (which I did not see, but I wish I had — this morning there were several people having breakfast at my B&B who’d seen the show the night before and liked it very much).

I didn’t stop by after the performance of Hamlet that I saw, but I might do after Love’s Labour’s Lost on Thursday night — I’m thinking it might be a less of an insane mob scene than the entire area was both before and after Hamlet.

Oh, and how’s this for crazy? I got recognized at Hamlet… or after, really, after leaving another nearby pub, when I ran into reader Samantha from Iowa, who had been at the show too and had waited (successfully) around the stage door to get David Tennant to sign her program. That was kinda cool.



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  • Mimi

    “Might do!” You’re turning British on us, Mary Ann. Not that that’s a bad thing.

    Congrats on your moment of fame! I can’t imagine I’d ever recognize you in the real world… your photo is pretty small. Well done Samantha.

  • Lisa

    LOL I was at the show with Samantha from Iowa (hi, Sam)! The Duck was PACKED afterward but we managed to carve out a place to sit and enjoy a drink. What a fabulous performance it was! I will be at Love’s Labour’s Lost next week. I’ll look forward to your review.

  • Jan Willem

    For all of you prospective Flick Filosopher spotters: a bigger version of the MAJ picture (plus another one) may be found on the website of photographer David Speranza. Follow the link in the upper right corner and choose “Headshots”.

  • Poly in London

    The Dirty Duck is a lovely country pub and part of the experience of going to Stratford to see an RSC production. It’s low key and intimate, and almost inevitably you end up talking to the actors who show up after the performance without fail.

    Some of the pleasure of seeing Hamlet this year was that the Courtyard theatre, the space, its location, the surroundings, challenge and defie all the hype. The production was front page news, and subject to so much media coverage, but when you get to Stratford, you find yourself in a small country road, next to a counrty pub, in a unimposing building. The theatre itself, while having capacity for 1000 people, never looks that big. It is warm and perfect in every practical aspect, but also has no artifice, it’s all nuts and bolts. Props are visible before and after the performance. The space itself shakes off the hype and focuses the theatrical experience.

  • You should be drinking in the Vintner in sheep st. Saturday around 1.(ish).
    The Duck used to be fab but is now a bit of a tourist trap. Ask a stratfordian about the glory days of the Dirty Duck

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