Summer Shakespeare on the manor house lawn

May 2014

The Festival Players Present

MACBETH 3rd July 
Gloucestershire’s acclaimed Festival Players will be taking a contrasting Shakespeare twin tour across the UK and into Europe this summer, pairing The Bard’s shortest comedy and shortest tragedy, performing both plays at Cogges on in the beautiful outdoor setting of the manor house lawn. (weather permitting!)
In Shakespeare’s 450th birthday year, The Players will tour two separate shows offering audiences the farcical The Comedy of Errors and “the Scottish play” - the great tale of superstition, ambition and retribution that is Macbeth.
The company, who this year celebrate their 29th year of touring outdoor Shakespeare productions, will be fielding their traditional all-male cast in alternating performances. 
A small cast of seven play multiple roles demanding quick costume changes, as well as performing as musicians and both productions will be directed by Worcestershire-based Michael Dyer, Artistic Director of The Festival Players. 
Macbeth, which some believe to be a cursed drama, referring to it only as “the Scottish play”, has been a Shakespeare favourite with audiences since it was first performed at The Globe Theatre in 1611.
Says Michael: “It is one of Shakespeare’s darkest and most powerful plays and his shortest tragedy. It takes the audience on a roller coaster ride from a ‘blasted heath’ to a Scottish castle and a moving forest. Three weird and mysterious sisters, a ghost-ridden banquet, murder, prophecies, visions and spells all meld together in a swirling cauldron of seat-edge drama.
It will be Dyer’s tenth all-male production in a row for the Players. “It is of course totally authentic – we are following in the footsteps of Shakespeare’s own Globe Theatre when all roles were taken by men. The Players have built a reputation for strong, all-male shows over the past decade.”
By contrast, The Comedy of Errors is Shakespeare’s shortest comedy focusing on two sets of accidentally separated identical twins and awash with puns and slapstick.
Says Michael: “It is a brilliant farce of mistaken identities with a few darker undertones and we will perform it very much as a colourful, entertaining romp.
It tells of a master and his servant arriving in a foreign port which, unbeknown to them, is the home of their long-lost twin brothers. Mayhem ensues in a riotous train of mistaken identity, seduction and pursuit. 
Our shows are never longer than two hours and we always try to make them crystal clear and an amalgam of energy, entertainment and colour – we set out to take audiences of all ages on a journey and make them feel very much part of the production.
Music will be specially written for The Comedy of Errors by folk star Johnny Coppin (front man of the cult Seventies folk-rock group Decameron).
Tickets are now available online or book at the Welcome Desk.
Bring a low back chair, blankets, cushions, brolly and a picnic;
Bar & BBQ available (not included in ticket price);
Non reserved seating; some chairs / bales / seating will be available.