ACTORS from The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) are preparing to take to the stage again in Stratford – outdoors.
With all shows in the company’s Stratford theatres cancelled for the rest of the year owing to the pandemic, new outdoor pop-up Shakespeare performances will be taking place each weekend throughout August in the Dell Gardens in the shadow of Holy Trinity Church.
RSC Artistic Director, Gregory Doran, said: “Whilst we continue to await news on the re-opening road map and the distribution of the extremely welcome £1.57billion government rescue package for arts and culture, we are delighted to see businesses across the town re-open their doors to locals and visitors from all over the UK.
“Our buildings may be closed but our commitment to Stratford-upon-Avon is as strong as ever.
“We are delighted to be working with our current acting company, who would otherwise be performing in The Winter’s Tale and The Comedy of Errors, to deliver this unique scratch programme of socially-distanced, outdoor Shakespeare, and though it may not have lights and costume, and the full bells and whistles of a normal RSC show, is sure to be a welcome treat for anyone who, like me, has been missing live theatre these last few months.”
Running from Friday to Sunday until the end of the month, Shakespeare Snapshots, sponsored by Darwin Escapes, will take place for 45 minutes at 1pm and 3pm each day.
The high-energy family-friendly performances will be different each week, featuring a mixture of socially-distanced speeches and scenes from Shakespeare’s best-loved plays.
Performances will be first come, first served, with space for up to eight household groups (maximum six people each), plus some standing spaces.
Helen Peters, chief executive of south Warwickshire tourism body Shakespeare’s England, welcomed the return to the stage of the RSC.
She said: “The past few months have been testing times for many, but the tourism and arts sectors have been hit massively. Stratford-upon-Avon is synonymous with the RSC and vice versa, so whilst the doors have to remain closed, it is fantastic that the RSC have found these innovative ways to engage with their audience and deliver that magic back for the Town as a whole, its residents and the visitors.
“With the summer holiday season just starting, the move could not have come at a better time as many people will be looking for events and activities to do closer to home this year.
“Stratford-upon-Avon and the surrounding towns are reawakening and now is the time to show people what we have to offer, so it is perfect that the RSC and The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust along with many other attractions are adapting their offer in order to welcome people back.”
Visit rsc.org.uk for further details.