Arundel Castle will host two al-fresco performances of Shakespeare’s The Tempest on August 16-17 to kick off the Arundel Festival.
Spokeswoman Carissa Christy said: “Set within Arundel Castle’s critically-acclaimed Collector Earl’s Garden, alive with thousands of colourful blooms, these performances offer theatre lovers an experience unlike any other. The talented actors of Illyria, one of the UK’s oldest outdoor touring theatre groups, will return to the castle for their first production of the popular play in 15 years.”
Illyria’s artistic director Oliver Gray said: “We’re so pleased to return to the stunning location of Arundel Castle. Visually, it’s a beautiful space, not to mention an acoustical dream for us, as we don’t have to use any artificial amplification in our performances. It’s the ideal place to be on a lovely English summer evening, down on the balmy south coast surrounded by lush gardens and fresh open air.”
He is promising a completely reimagined presentation of his favourite Shakespearean play: “As it’s been so long since I’ve last directed The Tempest, I’ve been able to come back to it with completely fresh eyes. We will be performing the play in ways that audiences may not have experienced before.
“For example, the play’s Prospero, who is typically depicted as a quintessential father figure, will be portrayed as a female character who is fiercely protective of her daughter from unwanted advances.”
And the rainstorm scene, which Oliver describes as “terminally dull in most productions”, has been reimagined to become an “acrobatic vision of a drunkard that is nothing short of hilarious.”
Castle manager Stephen Manion said: “We’re thrilled to welcome Illyria and theatre lovers back to Arundel Castle. The Tempest is one of my favourite Shakespearean plays because it’s so broad in its range. It has dramatic tragedy and raucous comedy, breath-taking poetry and magical stage effects, pure silence and beautiful music.”