Friday, 19 August 2011

Open-Air Theatre

My sister-in-law took me  last night to an open-air theatre production of "Much Ado About Nothing" in the grounds of Birmingham's Botanical Gardens.  Everyone took camp chairs, picnics and umbrellas (British summer time) and we were early enough to get a good position in front of the tiny stage. It was a lovely production with 8 talented actors taking several parts each although we did get rained on for half an hour at the beginning (everyone had raincoats and umbrellas, but the cast looked frozen - the temperature was 12.5 degrees C).  The audience had to be the 'arbor' into which two of the actors had to hide at one stage - really good fun, gave one an idea of how audiences would have participated in the comedies in Shakespeare's time. The direction was so good that we easily understood the language (with one or two naughty comtemporary references thrown in and a few modern ad libs). And it wasn't just pensioners present - quite a few youngsters there too.  It's great to know that Shakespeare is alive and well and living in the British countryside.  The Rain or Shine Theatre company is non-profit-making and aims to educate and entertain for an affordable ticket price.  They tour throughout the summer, one night in each place, and all they ask is for it not to rain. We had the added joy of a rainbow last night.


  1. That sounds really cool. I was to one open air performance and really enjoyed it. We don't really have much of that kind of thing around here.

  2. Yes, it's something of a Great British Tradition, like open-topped sports cars, inexplicably in spite of the bad weather.

  3. Sounds great -- and so nice to hear that young people were in the audience, too. And a rainbow as the grand finale -- doesn't get much better than that!