The Master, Graham Ballinger and his wife, Liveryman Averil Ballinger hosted the event which was held 11th-12th May at Stratford-upon-Avon on the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth. Forty three Liverymen and guests attended a black tie dinner in the magnificent Town Hall where they were welcomed by the Mayor of Stratford. There were tours to Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Shakespeare’s birthplace, a supper with actors performing pieces from his plays and an unplanned rendition of the three witches from Macbeth performed by Past Master Martin Earle, Junior Warden John Poore and Liveryman Howard Grant. The tour of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre was an eye-opener with behind the scenes views of prop rooms and fast change costumes, stages being prepared for the afternoon’s show, actors limbering up and explanations of the workings of stages and control rooms.
“The brilliant weather was a bonus,” says Master Graham Ballinger. “Really, it couldn’t have been better. And it was an excellent and fun weekend for people to get to know each other better and renew old friendships. The challenges of the industry and economy were also solved several times over in the bars late in the evenings and early mornings. Now we look forward to our next big event, the granting of our Royal Charter which we will be formally presented with its Great Seal by a member of the Royal Family on Wednesday 12th September”.