The first Edlesborough Shakespeare Festival takes place in May - and tickets are selling fast

All proceeds go to the ‘Church on the Hill’
The magical setting for Shakespeare's magical "A Midsummer Night's Dream"The magical setting for Shakespeare's magical "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
The magical setting for Shakespeare's magical "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

Tickets are already selling fast for the first Edlesborough Shakespeare Festival – which is set to take place next month.

Celebrating the birth month of William Shakespeare and the 400th anniversary of his First Folio editions, The Players Theatre Company Edlesborough is performing at the event.

The players will be performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which will be directed by former professional director Sarah Jones.

The magical setting for Shakespeare's magical "A Midsummer Night's Dream"The magical setting for Shakespeare's magical "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
The magical setting for Shakespeare's magical "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

It will be set in the 1920s, with the venue being the beautiful ‘Church on the Hill’ in Edlesborough. The production will be an ‘immersive walk about’ play that will take in the full landscape and views the church has to offer.

Sarah said: “Having moved to this lovely village last year, I love the church, its views and setting and felt that it would be an amazing place to perform both outside and inside, especially Shakespeare, whose plays lend themselves to such places and atmospheres.

"It will also give me and those that are involved, the chance to ‘give back’ to our village, as all proceeds will go to the upkeep, restoration or repair of the church for future generations to enjoy."

She explained: “The First Folio ‘scripts’ were taken from ‘prompt scripts’ used during the actual performances of Shakespeare’s plays and are therefore believed to be the way Shakespeare should be performed.

"In Shakespeare’s day, the players would not meet to rehearse as we do now, they would be presented with their lines and only short cues and could go on stage the next day. They would be known for the characters that they played, the clown, the leading man and they would have worked together in this form and be able to perform Shakespeare as it was meant to be performed at the drop of a hat!

"Modern versions of the Bard’s work change words, delete or add lines and alter punctuation to make it more accessible for a modern audience, when in fact the First Folio is much more accessible to everyone and anyone as all the clues to performing it are in the text and the audience can ‘understand’ the words from the acting alone. Just like pantomime, you can cheer the villain, sigh at the lovers, enjoy the innuendo and laugh out loud with the clown. It is a wonderful way of playing Shakespeare both for the actors and the audience.”

The First Folio production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be the first for The Players Theatre Company Edlesborough, a company that brings together amateur actors, production crew and volunteers to host what is hoped to be a yearly Edlesborough Shakespeare Festival.

The church is on a hill, with steps leading up to it and the play will take the audience around and down and up again so people are asked to bear this in mind when booking – but support will be on hand and areas to take a seat with be offered.

Sarah added: “For our first festival we are proud to have been the recipients of a Small Grant award from the Edlesborough Parish Council and we are pleased to welcome NMJ Motorhouse Limited, Edlesborough as our main sponsor and Fine & Country Estate Agents as our premium sponsor and A Perfect PA Limited as our company sponsor – without their support we would not have been able to fund this 1st Festival so our gratitude for their belief in a such new venture is huge.”

Tickets are still available for Sunday, May 21 – but Friday and Saturday have already sold out.

There will be performances at 1.30pm and 7pm and tickets are £12 for ages 16 plus and £8 for children under 16 and concessions.

Find out more and book here.