An English country garden, open air Shakespeare - the quintessential English summer event.
Summer 2017 was a good one for Shakespeare Live.
With two outstandingly successful productions behind us – as detailed below – and a delightful new home at Cleeve House, we now turn eager eyes towards next year’s main show. This is to be the uproarious Merry Wives of Windsor, a laugh-a-minute feast of comedy in the company of some of Shakespeare’s funniest comic characters.
Performances will run from Monday 2nd to Saturday 7th July 2018 with booking open in April and auditions for would-be performers in January. More details will follow soon.
From one Dream to another
Amid the whoops and cheers of our final night audience Shakespeare Live’s main summer show came to its spectacular conclusion in early July. Tributes aplenty have assured us that both our production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and our delightful new home at Cleeve House have been a resounding success with our audiences. Even the weather was on our side!
"A magical production of Shakespeare's classic - myth and magic, theatre and love are all intertwined, with some absolutely splendid performances..." (Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
After the resounding success of our main show the scene shifted on a Saturday in August to the spiritual home of Shakespeare, Stratford upon Avon. We had a date with the Royal Shakespeare Company when we performed our original adaptation ‘Bottom’s Dream’ on their open-air stage, The Dell.
With two performances on a sunny afternoon we had a great reception from large and very appreciative audiences. Comparisons with 'the amateurs in the theatre next door' might have been overstating it but there's no doubt the show was greatly enjoyed - by audiences and performers alike!
Following our success in Stratford, the beginning of October saw us performing in five local venues to give our loyal local followers a chance to join the fun.
Performances in Bradford on Avon, Bath, Chippenham, Corsham and Devizes once again attracted large audiences and brought more plaudits for this innovative and creative show.
Over five years of performances devised for the RSC at The Dell, Shakespeare Live have proved adept at delighting audiences with something that is unique and special and Bottom's Dream maintained the tradition!
Over 29 summers of open-air performance Shakespeare Live’s aspiration has always been to raise amateur Shakespeare to professional levels.
We started life in the delightful gardens of Hazelbury Manor where we performed for 22 years. In July 2016 our magical production of The Tempest brought the curtain down on our six years of performance in the fine and spacious grounds of Lackham House near Lacock, and now...
We were thrilled to be performing Shakespeare Live's 2017 show, A Midsummer Night's Dream in the delightful setting of Cleeve House in the village of Seend near Melksham. We are immensely grateful for the warm and enthusiastic welcome we have had from the owners and trustees of this magnificent house, once home to Clive and Vanessa Bell of the Bloomsbury group. This was an exciting fresh start for us in a venue that we know our audiences loved just as much as we do, and where the unique magic and long-established quality of Shakespeare Live productions now has new scope to flourish.
So the future is bright for Shakespeare Live with our main show this year enjoying the novelty of a new home but the long-standing appeal of a timeless favourite in Rod Moor-Bardell’s magnificent production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This proved to be something original and very special, a delight for all the family, old and young, Shakespeare lovers and newcomers alike. Now all eyes turn to next year's production of The Merry Wives of Windsor - another comic delight!
To find out more about who we are and what we do please visit our Company section. Or have a look at our Backstage Blog, newly introduced in 2016 for our summer show, The Tempest. There you will find photos from rehearsals, pieces written by the various contributors to our production and of course posts from the director, all in all a fantastic look behind the scenes.
Photos courtesy of Owen Benson Visuals and Rob Cannings
Now a Registered Charity, number 1155756