A DUO of award-winning young musicians will be entertaining visitors exploring Stratford’s Guild Chapel later this month, with free performances.

On October 16th, Ruth Hopkins (Soprano) and Richard MacKenzie (Lute) will be performing Elizabethan and Jacobean music associated with Shakespeare and his plays in the beautiful Chapel which stands right across the road from New Place, the Bard’s final home.

On the hour between 1pm and 4pm, they will perform a short programme of songs by famous composers of the day including John Dowland and Robert Johnson, while visitors enjoy one of Stratford-upon-Avon’s best-known and most important historic buildings.

Entry to the Chapel is free – the performances are free for all to enjoy too, with donations welcomed.

Ruth Hopkins is a versatile Soprano and director of K’antu Ensemble, performing extensively across the UK. International engagements include Göttingen International Handel Festival’s Historische Reihe, Craiova International Shakespeare Festival (Romania), Shakespeare400 Forever and a Day Festival at the Bibliotheca Alexandria (Egypt), the Liszt Academy Museum and Zsolnay Cultural Quarter (Hungary) and Port Cultural Cetate (Romania).

She read Music at Somerville College, Oxford and her postgraduate studies were supported by the Dame Felicity Lott Bursary. She now enjoys working with composers performing new music as a soloist and with Thumb Ensemble. Projects have included premieres at LSO St Lukes Soundhub for Robert Szymanek and Phillip Venables, Edmund Hunt’s prize-winning Ginungagap conducted by Edwin Roxburgh, Nicholas Stuart’s The Canal for Leeds Lieder Festival, and work as a multi-instrumentalist for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

She has broadcast live on Radio 3 from the Southbank Centre and recorded two albums Dancing & the Divine and Gusto with K’antu Ensemble. She has featured on BBC Introducing, Late Junction, Resonance FM’s LSO Soundhub and in Early Music Today Magazine.

Richard MacKenzie is a sought-after soloist and collaborative artist on early and classical guitars, and lutes. His collaborations have included The Sixteen, The King’s Consort, The Hanover Band, Ex Cathedra, The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, The City Waites, The Royal Opera House and Shakespeare’s Globe (seven productions and multiple workshops).

Since completing a degree in music at The Queen’s College, University of Oxford, Richard has seen the release of two acclaimed solo albums; ‘Il Rosetto’ and ‘The Parisian Delight’, and the publication of his first musicological work. He has performed at every major British early music festival, and has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s ‘In Tune’ and ‘Lunchtime Concert’ series on multiple occasions.

The Guild Chapel features some of the finest medieval wall paintings in the UK, covered up on orders given to Shakespeare’s father in the 16th century following the Reformation when he was the then Chamberlain of the Corporation of Stratford. Stratford Town Trust, custodian of the Chapel, is currently leading a major project to conserve and showcase the paintings supported by a £100,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. This project – Death Reawakened – will see conservation work on two the best-preserved wall paintings beginning this month. Further performances and events to support the project are also being planned.