RSC brings kindness to Bell Court with Art Warming Project

As Stratford-upon-Avon slowly begins to reopen in April, the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) is inviting local people to reconnect with one another via its Art Warming project, inspired by the theme of kindness and creativity.

The RSC is working with West Midlands artist Saadia Hipkiss to create the Kindness Shop, an open space in Bell Court in the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon where people can safely take part in free creative activities.

Sponsored by Bell Court, and supported by a grant from Stratford Town Trust, local people are being given the opportunity to help create large, colourful mandalas (large circular artworks featuring geometric patterns) which will then be displayed in Bell Court’s currently empty shops.

Taking inspiration from the well-established and successful The Kindness Rock Project, the RSC will also ask people to share their messages of hope and kindness. Some of these will be painted on to rocks by Saadia and local volunteers and placed in a Stratford kindness garden in Bell Court. Other messages will be audio recorded and played in Bell Court as part of a soundscape on Saturday 24 April to celebrate the final day of the Art Warming project and to coincide with Shakespeare’s Birthday.

Safely managed outdoor mandala colouring activities (limited to family units or ‘bubbles’ of no more than two people) will take place between 10am-3pm on Saturdays 3,10 and 24 April, and throughout the week between Monday 12 – Saturday 17 April in Bell Court.  Members of the RSC team will also be noting down people’s messages of kindness on the same dates.

Ida Ballerini, Creative Placemaking and Public Programmes Officer at the RSC, said:

“We believe small things make a difference and creativity and kindness can inspire, help and motivate others as we emerge together from a difficult year.  We look forward to reconnecting with the people of Stratford in April as part of this Art Warming project, and I can’t wait to see the colourful mandalas and hear people’s messages of hope.  We will use these to decorate Bell Court creating a beacon of better days ahead.”

Rich Jones, Centre Manager at Bell Court, said:

“Bell Court are delighted to be hosting the RSC and this exciting project, which will bring people together after a difficult year. The concepts focus is on providing happiness and encouraging kindness, through colour and creativity. Bell Court are well placed to host this project in a socially distanced and safe environment.

We believe this will bring people together after what has been a very difficult year and the RSC and Bell Court are really keen to express this Art Warming project.

Bell Court is going to look amazing with all of the vibrant colours and designs that the mandalas will bring. This, accompanied with messages of kindness and hope can only help to lift Stratford-upon-Avon to new heights in preparation for the good times to come.”

How to take part

Saturday 3 and 10 April
10am – 3pm

On Saturday 3 and 10 April, between 10am – 3pm, the RSC Creative Placemaking team will setting up the shop in preparation for the activities.  They will also be noting down people’s messages of kindness, and giving interested passers-by rock kits and mandala templates to colour at home and return to the shop.

Monday 12 – Saturday 17 April and Saturday 24 April
10am – 3pm

The Kindness Shop is expected to open alongside non-essential retail on Monday 12 April.  Safely managed outdoor mandala colouring activities (limited to family units or ‘bubbles’ of no more than two people) will take place between 10am-3pm throughout the week Monday 12 – Saturday 17 April and on Saturday 24 April in Bell Court.  Members of the RSC team will again be noting down people’s messages of kindness on the same dates.

Saturday 24 April
Stratford Says Thank You!
10am – 3pm

Take a moment to stop and listen to stories and messages of kindness from those that have visited the shop.

Know before you go

  • Spaces are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis.
  • Please follow social distancing guidelines and legal limits of group gathering.
  • Use the coronavirus NHS QR code or leave contact details (name and phone number for each household) if you do not want to use the app or do not wish to show in our venue check-in history. Details will be kept safe for 21 days.
  • Please wear a mask where possible and use sanitiser at arrival.
  • The government advice is to only travel locally where possible.


Photo credit: RSC 

Sharing Shakespeare outside and online with the RSC

Following the government’s roadmap for lifting lockdown restrictions, we are excited to share that our partners the RSC, have reconceived their productions The Winter’s Tale and The Comedy of Errors – which were on the verge of opening in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in 2020. Thanks to innovation and technology, you’ll now be able to catch these productions this summer.

The RSC will present their first new full-length Shakespeare production since September 2019: Erica Whyman’s The Winter’s Tale, newly imagined as a stage-on-screen production. You can enjoy the broadcast premiere of The Winter’s Tale this April on BBC Four (exact transmission date to be announced) and it will then be available to watch (and rewatch) on iPlayer.

The Comedy of Errors takes centre stage this summer in the RSC’s new open-air Garden Theatre for a strictly limited run. This specially constructed outdoor performance space in the Swan Gardens will allow you to watch this side-splitting production safely and securely. Keep your eyes peeled for full details of the Garden Theatre programme in April, as well as when bookings will open.

View the full statement from the RSC here.

10 Ways to Celebrate Mother’s Day 2021

Whether you’re showing some love to your mum (or honorary mum!) grandmother, auntie, sister, partner or friend, this Mother’s Day we’ve put together 10 ways to make her day extra-special.

  1. Update her wardrobe with Gemini Woman

Curated with the modern woman in mind, Gemini Woman boasts a range of flattering pieces to really make your wardrobe pop. Whether you’re looking for a timeless classic, or a trend accessory, this fashion boutique has it all.
Discover more

  1. Play dress up with Balou

Bestselling collection at Balou, Me & You is a range of stunning pieces for mother and daughter. Completed in an on-trend neutral palette, this collection is a must-have for the ultimate cute factor this Mother’s Day.
Discover more

  1. Bring dining out in

We can’t go out to eat (yet!) but that doesn’t mean you can’t experience the great tastes of our known and loved restaurants here at Bell Court. From Asian aromas to the taste of Italy, let mum put her feet up this Sunday, and order a cheeky takeaway from us. Our friends at Mor Bakery have a special 3 course Mother’s Day takeaway with 15% off your order when you use code “family”.

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  1. Bake some treats together

There’s nothing like a little DIY baking to bring people together. Why not unlock your inner Delia Smith and bake yourselves some tasty treats. If you’re on the look out for easy recipes, Pinterest is a great place to start!

Get inspired

  1. Breakfast in bed

Who doesn’t love being treated to breakfast in bed? With local baked goods and breakfast ideas from Bardia’s and Mor Bakery, it’s even easier. Simply pop out to Bell Court, collect your tasty goods and then present on a beautiful dish to a very happy woman!

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  1. Sustainable stylish pieces from Seasalt Cornwall

Inspired by Cornish heritage, Seasalt Cornwall is a women’s clothing brand with a difference. At Seasalt, they design and sell beautiful quality products, to be loved for many seasons to come. When you give a Seasalt Cornwall gift, you are supporting a sustainable brand who are constantly looking for ways to make a positive difference.

Discover more

  1. Bring on the pampering with Lush

There are some Mother’s Day gifts that will never go out of fashion. We like to think the gift of self-care and pampering is one of them. At Lush, with a range of cruelty-free bath, skin and body products, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

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  1. Magical at-home movie night

While we eagerly await the reopening of Everyman Cinema, that doesn’t mean the curtains closed for fun ways to enjoy a film. This Mother’s Day, why not set up a cosy, cinema style movie night in your living room. Think popcorn, blankets, and lots of fun as you watch a feel-good film.

Get inspired

  1. Give the gift of timeless art

This one is for the art lovers! The giving of art always makes for a lovely sentimental gift. Whether you opt for her favourite music artist, or an actor you both love – White Light Gallery features an eclectic collection to make any art fan light up.

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  1. Brighten her day with a bouquet of flowers

Who doesn’t love a bouquet of flowers? Especially when it’s unexpected. Surprise her this Mother’s Day with a gorgeous bunch from Bardia’s, because she’s worth it!

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Back to School Buys with Bell Court

With the kids going back to school quicker than you can say “where’s your lunchbox?”, Bell Court is here to help take some of the stress off your hands. Whether you’re running around looking for essentials to refresh their wardrobe, or scratching your head for something nice and easy to enjoy together…it’s time to take a deep breath, because help is at hand!

Fashionable outfits

We know what it’s like. Between learning, playing, and lounging all at home, sometimes those favourite pair of jeans can get a little bit worn. Why not breathe some life into their wardrobe with a dose of new-in pieces from fashion-forward kid’s favourite, Balou.

And if matchy-matchy looks are your thing, you can even treat yourself to a complementary outfit from their popular collection, Me & You. With comfortable pieces in on-trend neutral colours, the collection is perfect for after-school lounging together.


Tasty treats

Speaking of after-school…If you’re in the area, satisfy their sweet tooth with a choice of delectable snacks, made fresh everyday here at Bell Court. Whether it’s the organic flavours of a Mor Bakery pastry or a yummy slice of Bardia’s cake – a quick stop at any of our takeaway cafes is the perfect way to recharge and refuel after the school run.


Mealtime moments

When you’re balancing working from home, taking the kids to school and generally being the super parent that you are – thinking about what to cook for dinner can seem like a mammoth task. Not with the different delivery and collection options available at Bell Court! With great-tasting pizza and pasta dishes at Ask Italian, finger-licking chicken at Nando’s, and the 100% Angus beef burgers at The Burger Priest, all you have to do is pick the cuisine and put your feet up!


For a full list of all of our eateries, click here.


Something to look forward to

As we look ahead over the coming months at the eventual reopening of more places here at Bell Court, we can’t wait to welcome you back to enjoy some amazing activities. One of those being Magic Alley’s Enchanted Treasure Trail, which you can purchase tickets for very soon! For the movie-lovers, there’s also Everyman Cinema who run a Baby Club, offer a Kid’s Menu and will screen films for all the family!

For reopening updates, stay tuned to our website and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.