Coventry & Warwickshire

William Shakespeare anniversary: China to ‘recreate’ Stratford

Artist's impression of Sanweng Town, China Image copyright Fujjian Provincial Government
Image caption Sanweng Town, China, could feature feature "17th Century" English, Spanish and Chinese villages

William Shakespeare may be celebrated in China with a development attempting to replicate his hometown.

Plans for Sanweng Town feature "Stratford-upon-Avon" complete with a River Avon and Holy Trinity Church.

The project also honours Tang Xianzu from China and Miguel de Cervantes from Spain, who both died in 1616, the same year as Shakespeare.

Three planned tourist villages are intended to reflect 17th Century England, Spain and China.

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Image copyright Fujjian Provincial Government
Image caption Artist's impression of Shakespeare Stratford Little Town
Image caption Developers plan to recreate Shakespeare's homes in the village

They are part of a larger development called Wenquan New Town, in Fujian province.

Planners hope the project will attract tourists and promote opera and the arts.

The province was home to Tang Xianzu during the Ming dynasty.

Image copyright Fujjian Provincial Government
Image caption Writers Tang Xianzu, William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes all died in 1616

A delegation from Fuzhou travelled to Stratford in April to get inspiration.

Stratford District Council leader Chris Saint was invited to China to discuss these plans, and returned last week.

"It's at the concept stage, so there is no detailed design or earmarked start date as yet," he said.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The plans for the Chinese version of Stratford include a "River Avon"

"It's a pioneering effort for a Chinese provincial government to work with an English district council.

"They're very keen to use Shakespeare's worldwide influence to promote their playwright, Tang Xianzu, by association."

This in turn will help generate interest in Shakespeare and Stratford from the Far East, which will attract more visitors to the Bard's hometown, said Mr Saint.

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