The Petersfield Shakespeare Festival
The Petersfield Shakespeare Festival has enjoyed its most successful season so far, with almost 1800 people visiting the enchanting open-air venue in the grounds of Bedales School.
The festival presented ambitious interpretations of two plays linked by the theme of Epic battles – Henry V and The Taming of the Shrew. From page to stage the process was completed in just nine days of intense rehearsal and frantic behind the scenes work. The festival opened on 18th July with a twenty strong cast of largely professional actors recreating the battle of Agincourt in Henry V. It was a production full of brilliant movement sequences, stirring battle scenes and magnificent poetry. The setting of a World War 1 field hospital was imaginatively created with a spiky wooden barricade and the trenches of the Somme.
Just one week later, and in complete contrast, the scene shifted to the domestic battlefront of man vs. woman, when the same company performed a sparkling new adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew by Laura Turner, commissioned by the festival. Set in a Northern pub locked in the 1980s, wedding day celebrations were plunged into chaos when the planned entertainment took an unexpected turn…. and the mother of the bride found herself in a leading role.
As the sun set over the South Downs, audiences were mesmerised by the expanse and clarity of Henry V and roared with laughter as they joined in the party at The Shrew’s Tavern.
“Such an amazing show tonight – we are hooked!”
“We come each year to both plays, and it just keeps getting better”
“..brilliantly set, brilliantly staged, great fun. I didn’t dare laugh in case I missed hearing anything!”