Arundel Cathedral provides perfect backdrop for Shakespeare

Shakespeare at Arundel Castle. Picture by Chris Hopkins
Shakespeare at Arundel Castle. Picture by Chris Hopkins
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GB Theatre Company will return to Arundel Castle this summer for a duo of alfresco Shakespeare performances as part of the Arundel Festival on August 28-29.

Spokeswoman Jessica Beales said: “The Collector Earl’s Garden is the perfect setting for Shakespeare’s classic plays, with this year’s schedule including Much Ado about Nothing and Twelfth Night.

“Visitors can step back in time and watch the action play out with the historic Arundel Cathedral as a backdrop.”

Widely considered among Shakespeare’s best comedies, Much Ado about Nothing and the equally amusing Twelfth Night will be showcased in the open air by a troupe of talented actors.

Taking centre stage as Viola in Twelfth Night on Saturday, August 29, and as Ursula and Conrade in Much Ado about Nothing on Friday, August 28, will be Jennifer Higham. Jennifer has a number of theatre, film and television credits to her name and has also been heard in radio performances of Doctor Who.

Jennifer’s theatre credits include Swallows and Amazons (Bristol Old Vic), The Pillowman (National Theatre), Clever Dick (Hampstead Theatre), Evening Primrose (Sadlers Wells), The Internationalist, Woman In Love (Gate Theatre), The Man Who Pays the Piper, The Stepmother, Winter, Three Farces, Alison’s House, The Women Hater and The Linden Tree (Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond), Lovely and Misfit (Trafalgar Studios), Rope (The Watermill), Romeo and Juliet (Rose Theatre Kingston), As You Like It, Romeo and Juliet and Twelfth Night (AFTLS).

Leading man for Much Ado about Nothing will be Vincenzo Pellegrino. Vincenzo will perform as Benedick, the wilful lord recently returned from fighting in the wars, who vows that he will never marry. He regularly appears on TV in familiar roles in Holby City and Doctors.

Barrie Palmer remains the artistic director of GB Theatre Company as well as a performer. Barrie has toured and performed in a wide selection of Shakespearian plays; this year he will take on characters Leonato in Much Ado about Nothing and Sir Toby in Twelfth Night.

Barrie said: “We’re delighted to be welcomed back to Arundel Castle for another year. The cast and I always look forward to performing at such an iconic location on the suitably named Oberon’s Palace stage, a subtle nod towards Oberon from Shakespeare’s classic A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Barrie toured in Henry V, As You Like it and A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the British Shakespeare Company. Last year saw him perform for his own company playing Peter Quince in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Gobbo, Prince of Arragon and the Duke in The Merchant of Venice.

Barrie has played Stan in four National tours of Victoria Wood’s Dinnerladies and Dinnerladies 2nd Helpings. He has recently completed a tour of Chin Chin with Felicity Kendal and Simon Callow, directed by Michael Rudman, and a one-man play, A Different Way Home, at the Cumbernauld Theatre, Scotland.

Bryan McDonald, castle manager, added: “We thoroughly enjoy having Shakespeare’s works performed in The Collector Earl’s Garden every year. Our gardens are the perfect setting for legendary plays and with such an excellent cast this year, we’re excited to host another round of successful theatrical evenings.”

Tickets for the performances are priced from £16 for children to £26 for adults. Ticket holders are invited to arrive early and enjoy their picnics in the Castle grounds before the performances commence in The Collector Earl’s Garden.

Tickets and times: August 28, Much Ado About Nothing; August 29, Twelfth Night. 5.30pm castle grounds open; 6.30pm The Collector Earl’s Garden gates open; 7.30pm performances start. Running time: two hours with a 30 minute interval.

Book online here. Further information on Arundel Castle and its 2015 event calendar at www.arundelcastle.org.

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