All the woods a stage – Shakespeare plays set among New Forest trees

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shakespeare new forest
Romeo and Juliet is coming to New Forest woodland

THE woodland backdrop of Beaulieu’s Countryside Education Trust will set the scene for a series of outdoor Shakespeare plays this summer.

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Running August 20th-31st, the Beaulieu Shakespeare programme will bring a cast of professional actors to perform Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, under the direction of Abbey Wright.

Tickets are £10 for adult and £5 for children with both productions suitable for a family audience.

Abbey said: “We hope these plays can offer an uplifting and communal event at this time of isolation. The arts have been decimated by the necessary closures due to coronavirus and so we would be so grateful for the support of our community at this time.

“We are the first theatre production to take place in Hampshire after the lockdown. And we are so grateful to the wonderful Countryside Education Trust for hosting these performances.”

One of the favourites by Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream follows young lovers Hermia and Lysander as they visit the forest where a group of amateur actors are rehearsing a play for the wedding of a duke.

The chaos escalates when the feuding king and queen of the fairies and mischievous sprite Puck arrive to join the fun.

Abbey said: “The woodland setting could not be more apt for this play and it is said that the play itself was written to celebrate the marriage of the mother of the Earl of Southampton.

“The current Lord Montagu is a direct descendant of the earl, who was Shakespeare’s only known patron and a close friend.”

The cast will also perform Shakespeare’s epic love story Romeo and Juliet which has more links to Beaulieu because it is thought that the name Montagu, given to Romeo’s family, may have been inspired by the current Lord Montagu’s family name.

Shakespeare at Beaulieu will be performed in line with social distancing guidance. Performances are from August 20th-31st.

For more information and tickets visit www.beaulieushakespeare.co.uk

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