With 2016 including the 400th anniversary of the day Shakespeare ‘shuffled off this mortal coil’, (the date widely believed to be his birthday, too), there’s no shortage of Shakespeare productions to marvel at.
Whether you’re a bard-fanatic or simply looking to widen your cultural horizons, the highly anticipated annual Shakespeare Festival - which returns to the grounds of Norwich Cathedral on Friday the 15th & Saturday 16th July (7pm) - is one to get very excited about!
This year festival-goers will be enthralled by a sparkling performance of one of the Shakespeare’s best-loved comedies, Much Ado About Nothing. A classic ‘battle-of-the-sexes’ play, it’s packed full of comical misunderstandings, trickery and drama, all of which will be performed by The Lord Chamberlain’s Men from the beautiful open-air surroundings of the Cathedral Cloisters. Keep your fingers crossed for a balmy summer evening, pack a blanket to burrow under and feast on a picnic as you watch!
Tickets are on sale from the Norwich Cathedral website, or call the Theatre Royal box office on 01603 630000.
For those who want more Shakespeare, never fear – there’s even more going on this summer to satisfy you! Strangers’ Hall are hosting two great events; A Shakespearean Summer (1 & 12 June) where you can experience life in Shakespeare’s time – after all, Strangers’ Hall was a leading Norwich residence in the Elizabethan Age, don’t you know! – and relaxing Summer Sundays in the garden, where you can hear Shakespeare’s sonnet recited by local thespians and try your hand at a traditional garden game – anyone for a spot of croquet?
“Lord, what fools these mortals be!”- Puck, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Continue the interactive activities by heading over to Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery for Shakespeare’s Soapbox (16 Jul, 12, 23, 30 Aug, 1 Sep). Imagine you’re in the Elizabethan / Jacobean royal court, being entertained in the fashion of the times (though we’ll pass on the bear baiting, thanks…) as actor Neil Paris performs, for your entertainment, Shakespearean scenes and quotes. The director of SMITH dancetheatre, he’s well known for his wonderful work with various other theatre companies and is bound to put on a fantastic ‘show’ as he appears in unexpected places around the Castle - prepare to be surprised! You (or a plucky friend) can even jump up onto the soapbox with him and perform a double act; though it may be embarrassing, everyone else’ll surely enjoy the spectacle!
Finally, why not see the Bard’s classic tale of love, Romeo & Juliet, reworked as musical production West Side Story (23 – 27 August) and performed at the delightful venue we love to frequent both for its fantastic shows and its quirky bar: the Norwich Playhouse. Tickets are £19.50 full price or £18 concessions and are available to buy online http://www.norwichplayhouse.co.uk/whats-on/detail/west-side-story or by calling 01603 598598