Leighton Buzzard residents can watch Shakespeare in the Garden at village pub

'As the audience gets more enthusiastic (and more lubricated, we are in a pub garden after all) we use it to our advantage. We feed off their energy.'

Monday, 7th June 2021, 10:34 am
Updated Monday, 7th June 2021, 10:36 am

Fuller’s has announced the welcome return of outdoor theatre, specifically Shakespeare in the Garden, to The Five Bells in Stanbridge on August 26.

Produced by theatre company Open Bar, this year’s production sees As You Like It taking centre stage in pub gardens across the Fuller’s estate. This is the tenth consecutive year that Fuller’s pub customers have been able to enjoy alfresco productions from Britain’s greatest playwright.

Fuller's believes that after a disruptive year, customers are all in need of a “Summer of Love”, and the play which Open Bar are bringing to the stage is "just that - full of comedy, romance and adventure" and accompanied with original songs to help follow the plot.

A production of The Tempest in 2020.

Open Bar co-founders, Nicky Diss and Vicky Gaskin, said: "We’re used to making innovative theatre in unusual spaces – our shows are designed to work with their environment and surroundings, not against them.

"As the audience gets more enthusiastic (and more lubricated, we are in a pub garden after all) we use it to our advantage. We feed off their energy. They don't have to understand every word but it's important that we take them with us...that they leave humming the tunes and still laughing at the gags.

"Thanks to Fuller’s, we are in the extraordinary position of still being able to produce full-scale professional shows regardless of Covid-19 capacity restrictions, maintaining our high production values, employing artists and dreaming bigger and better for 2021.”

In As You Like It, the audience meets Rosalind, who escapes her vicious uncle, dresses as a boy (because this is Shakespeare, after all) and heads for the forest. There she meets a group of shepherds, and the boy she loves who also happens to be on the run from her uncle.

The Tempest, 2020.

The audience can run away with Rosalind and Celia as the Forest of Arden quite literally lands in The Five Bell's pub garden this summer. It may look fresh out of Shakespeare’s day, but it’s as relevant as ever, with original songs to help audiences follow the plot and six actors leaping around a two-storey set.

Fuller’s Marketing Director, Jane Jones, said: “Our partnership with Open Bar has proved incredibly popular with our customers, and successful for both Fuller’s and Open Bar. We were delighted to be able to continue with our joint venture even during the socially-restricted summer of 2020.

"The last year has been a real rollercoaster, and nowhere has that been felt more keenly than in the hospitality and performing arts sectors. Shakespeare in the Garden is truly the perfect experience we all deserve this summer: laughter, romance and, perhaps most importantly, an amazing pint in a beautiful Fuller’s pub garden.”

A full list of venues, performances and ticket prices can be found at: www.fullers.co.uk/shakespeare