EXCITING dance and acrobatics inspired by Shakespeare’s work are on offer for families looking for an unusual treat in the build up to Christmas.

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has lined up a series of performances at Shakespeare’s New Place in Stratford-on-Avon from December 13 to 17 featuring the award-winning dance-circus company Motionhouse.

The Midwinter Magic Dance-Circus Spectacular aims to take audiences on an intriguing journey through the contemporary garden of the venue.

It promises to be a visual and physical feast with pure skill, spectacle and magical storytelling – a truly immersive after-dark theatrical experience.

Chloe Malendewicz, manager at Shakespeare’s New Place, said: “New Place was Shakespeare’s home during some of the most creative years of his life and the space continues to inspire tremendous creativity and emotion.

“We’re excited to be working with Motionhouse to put this visual and physical spectacle for visitors to enjoy this festive season. We wanted to use this event to open up a different perspective to Shakespeare and show how his themes can be explored in a contemporary and creative way.

“We can’t wait to see what magical acrobatic performances the dancers have in store for us.”

Louise Richards, executive director of Motionhouse, said: “We are very excited to be working with Shakespeare’s New Place on Midwinter Magic. We are passionate fans of Shakespeare and are delighted to have the opportunity to use Shakespeare’s themes inspiration for this exciting dance-circus production.”

There will be two performances each evening starting at 5.30pm and 7.30pm. Each show lasts about one hour. Booking is essential and more information is available from www.shakespeare.org.uk/events.

Other festive events taking place across the Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust properties include a visit by Father Christmas at Hall’s Croft – the Jacobean home of Shakespeare’s daughter Susanna and her husband John Hall.

Father Christmas will be visiting on Saturday December 16 and Sunday December 17 from 12noon to 4pm to teach the Jacobeans the wonders of Santa Claus. Little boys and girls can meet him and receive a special personalised gift and have a go at Christmas biscuit making.

Also at Hall’s Croft on Saturday December 16, the trust’s Tudor guide Sharon Lippett will reveal the Christmas traditions that shaped a Tudor household and try the foods that adorned the Christmas Day table. This event runs from 5.30pm to 6.30pm.

Other Christmas family events include Tudor Music Performances at Hall’s Croft from 12noon to 4pm on Friday December 15, 22 and 29 and Friday January 5. The Peas Pottage group will perform a selection of traditional and festive Tudor music.

From December 16 to 24 from 12noon to 4pm there will be Christmas Wassail Tours at Shakespeare’s Birthplace. Visitors can take a magical tour around Shakespeare’s Birthplace and enjoy some homemade wassail – a hot mulled cider which is a Medieval English drinking ritual intended to ensure a good cider apple harvest the following year.

The trust is staging a Christmas Critters with Zoolab at Shakespeare’s Birthplace on Thursday December 21 at 12noon, 1pm, 2pm and 3.30pm. Curious creatures at the Zoolab Tudor Storytelling Workshop will enhance visitors’ knowledge of Shakespearian times. They can see, meet and touch the animals that would have crossed the Bard’s path.

For further information, ticket prices and to book places visit https://www.shakespeare.org.uk/visit/whats-on/