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Aug 02 2013

A Perfect Setting for Shakespeare’s Plays

This week’s Foto Friday follows on from Wednesday’s post and is a photograph of the stage of the open air theatre I mentioned.

I had no idea there was an open air theatre in Rutland until I went to the Arts Centre in Stamford, which is in Lincolnshire.  Even though the theatre is actually in Rutland, the productions are by the Stamford Shakespeare Company.  They present three plays from July to August every year.

Shakespeare's plays at the Rutland open air theatre

There’s something about watching Shakespearean plays in open air venues that makes them truly magical so, as there were still tickets, I jumped at the chance and bought one for that evening’s performance – A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The setting couldn’t have been better for two reasons.  Firstly, most of the play is set in a forest so the real trees behind the stage are the perfect backdrop for the performance.  Secondly, it is in the grounds of Tolethorpe Hall, an Elizabethan manor house in the small village of Little Casterton in Rutland.

If you fancy it, you can book a pre-performance buffet.  Alternatively, you can take your own picnic with you to enjoy on the lawn or, if you prefer, you can even order a ready-prepared picnic.  If you eat beforehand, as I did, you can just buy a drink and a snack before the performance or during the interval.

Whatever you decide, it’s a wonderful way to spend a summer’s evening regardless of the weather because you can take your picnic inside Tolethorpe Hall if it rains, as it did the evening I was there.  When you watch the performance, the seating area is covered so you won’t get wet.  The stage isn’t covered though.  It had stopped raining by the time the performance began but the wooden floor on stage was wet.  As the actors tend to jump around a bit during the performance, there were a few tense moments when they slid on stage.  To be honest, the near misses actually added to the performance.

Further information

If you are interested, you can find out more about the Stamford Shakespeare Company here.  I think it’s great value for money at only £13 on weekday evenings.

Have your say

Do you like going to open air productions?  Which is your favourite open air theatre?

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