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Forget Glastonbury and Get Merry With the Windsor Wives!

June 21, 2011

The Glastonbury Festival 2011 this weekend denotes that we are truly into the summer “festival season” when culture-vultures, thrill-seekers and mud-lovers flock to the great outdoors to enjoy live performances under open skies.

It’s no different in my home city of Lichfield here in the heart of Staffordshire where final preparations are well in hand for the opening night tomorrow of the annual Bard-based beanfeast that is “Shakespeare in the Park “.

Shakespeare in the Park logo

This year’s production is “The Merry Wives of Windsor” which runs from Wednesday 22nd until Saturday 25th June at Maple Hayes on the outskirts of the city and I’m thrilled to once again be part of this wonderful theatrical venture which donates all of its profits to local charities.

The venue is a fabulous wooded glade which is transformed into an open air theatre for one week each June.  Rehearsals, which take place in the same outdoor setting,  have been taking place since the middle of May.

Rehearsals for Shakespeare in the Park's Merry Wives of Windsor

Last week work began on building the set and rigging the lights:

Preparations for 2011 production by Shakespeare in the Park of The Merry Wives of Windsor at  Maple Hayes

And last night and tonight’s dress rehearsals allow for finishing touches to be made before the audience take their seats on the straw bales tomorrow.

The Merry  Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare - dress rehearsal

And MY part in all this?  Well, I’m fortunate enough to playing Master Ford, the jealous husband of one of the eponymous wives which means I get to dress up in this great costume which, like most of the costumes used in Shakespeare in the Park, is hired from The Royal Shakepseare Company on Stratford Upon Avon:

Simon Partridge as Master Ford in The Merry Wives of  Windsor by William Shakespeare

Performances are 7.45pm nightly from Wednesday 22nd to Saturday 25th of June with a matinee at 2pm on Saturday 25th.  Tickets are available online from Lichfield’s Garrick Theatre website and cost £11.50 (full-price) and £9 (concessions – available Wednesday and Thursday evenings and Saturday matinee).

Why not join the many theatregoers who bring along a pre-show picnic?  Maple Hayes is a truly magical setting to enjoy one of Shakespeare’s finest comedies and each evening is rounded of with fireworks.  Who needs Glastonbury?  Come and get Merry with the Wives of Windsor!

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