Treat For Shakespeare Lovers As Theatre Company Returns To Scilly

festival players 2014Scilly’s theatre lovers will be able to pick from two Shakespeare plays when the Festival Players visit the islands again next month.

As part of their 30th anniversary tour, the Gloucestershire based company are putting on both As You Like It and Henry IV, a contraction of Shakespeare’s two-part play about the king, on different nights.

Director Mike Dyer says the company always receives a “tremendous welcome” in Scilly and they were determined to offer some extra choice for this tour.

Normally they do a single night on Tresco and one on St Mary’s. But Mike says they got such a good response last year that they’ve decided to spend two nights on our biggest island and put on two different plays.

Their summer schedule includes Scotland, Holland, Norway and Belgium as well as Scilly and Mike says that offering two plays hasn’t greatly added to their planning and logistics.

He says there are a few extra props and costumes but everything is easily loaded onto a container at Penzance for the crossing to Scilly.

If you enjoy a night of theatre, but your school memories of studying Shakespeare are putting you off, Mike promises that the shows are engaging.

He says the plays are cut down to two hours, which he feels is enough “sitting in the open air in this country.”

And he says his talented and well-trained young actors can manage to put across the meaning of even the most obscure lines.

Both plays will be performed by six male actors. And while the plays were written with the intention of men performing female roles, As You Like It provides a particularly tough test for one actor.

The part of Rosalind is the longest female role in Shakespeare and Mike says the man playing the part of a woman spends most of the play disguised as a man!

“It’s probably about as complicated as it gets in Shakespeare,” he says.

Mike says both parts of the Henry IV plays have been contracted down to a single play, and he says it’s far from being “an evening of dry history.”

There’s lots of fun, humour, colour and a great fight scene, says Mike.

You can see Henry IV in the Chaplaincy Gardens on St Mary’s on Friday 14th August, starting at 7.30pm and at Tresco’s Abbey Gardens on Sunday 16th August at 6.30pm.

As You Like it will be performed at the Chaplaincy Gardens at 7.30pm on the 15th August.