Laugh and cry with the Bard at Pendley Shakespeare Festival

As You Like It at the Pendley Shakespeare Festival 2013. Photographs courtesy of Adam Trigg Photography.  www.adamtrigg.co.uk
As You Like It at the Pendley Shakespeare Festival 2013. Photographs courtesy of Adam Trigg Photography. www.adamtrigg.co.uk

It’s that time of year again – gather up your picnic blanket and Pimms and head down to Tring’s Pendley Manor Hotel for this season’s Shakespearean offerings.

According to producer William Edwards, 2014 is a year of contrast for the Pendley Shakespeare Festival.

It marks the ‘old’ as it is its 65th year and the 100th anniversary of the festival founder’s birth , as well as the 50th year of involvement for costume and former artistic director Jennie Branston, whose daughter Sarah currently performs the role.

But it also embraces the ‘new’ with its introduction of Pendley Plus, new seating stands and a brand new company structure.

Following from the success of last year’s As You Like It and Love’s Labour’s Lost, starting next Wednesday will be a run of the great bard’s shortest play, The Comedy of Errors, followed by his longest, Hamlet, the week after.

Mr Edwards said, “It remains our privilege to produce two very different Shakespeare classics – trouser-ripping, laugh-out-loud comedy on the one hand, and dark, tear-wrenching tragedy on the other.”

The Comedy of Errors, featuring the Shakespearean conventions of twins and doppelgangers, runs from Wednesday, August 6 to Sunday, August 10.

The great tragedy Hamlet will be performed from Wednesday, August 13 to Sunday, August 17.

Performances start at 8pm, but the grounds open from 6pm so theatre-goers can enjoy a picnic or a meal at the Manor Hotel.

As a celebration of what would have been founder Dorian Williams’ 100th birthday, and to pay tribute to the heritage of the festival, the launch of Pendley Plus will see a programme of discussions and seminars, linked to this year’s plays, running alongside the event.

For a video of artistic director Sarah Branston’s thoughts on this year’s changes to the festival, click here.

Visit pendleyshakespearefestival.co.uk or call 01442 820060 (Tuesday to Thursday from 3pm to 6pm) to book tickets.