AN OFFERING of all things Shakespeare is back at a Staffordshire venue.
Stafford Festival Shakespeare is back for its 24th year, under the patronage of the Stafford Gatehouse Theatre.
This year's chosen production, the Shakespearean comedy As You Like It, will be performed between June 29 and July 12 on the grounds of the spectacular Stafford Castle.
From beneath the shadow of the castle battlements, a talented cast promises to shine, including the former Coronation Street star, Eric Potts and Only Fools and Horses legend, John Challis.
Established in 1991, the Stafford Festival Shakespeare has become a calendar event in local culture, with audiences rising from 3,776 in its first year to nearly 15,000 during more recent years. The festival is now regarded as one of the top three open air Shakespeare Festivals in the country.
The Bard's popular music comedy will be set under the stars within a purpose-built auditorium, providing all weather seating to accommodate up to 1,000 people. The show is the pinnacle of a popular Stafford Festival that is rapidly becoming one of Europe's largest open-air theatrical productions.
The much-loved Shakespearean comedy contains a combination of original music in a unique and striking setting and has also taken on a counter-culture spin, set amid the cold war vibes of the late 60s.
An exciting new addition this year consists in the dining Tipis that will provide a unique take on festival food. Old School Wines, Greengage Catering and Event In A Tent have teamed up to delight taste buds with freshly prepared street food that has a distinctive 'deep south American' flavour.
To wash it down, the audience could visit the Craft Beer Bar, the (tantalisingly British) Gin and Tonic Tent or the Champagne and Fizz Bar. Alternatively, the grounds of Stafford Castle provide the perfect setting for a picnic with further bar snack options available around the site. Your theatrical and dining experience really will be, as you like it.
Tickets for Stafford Festival Shakespeare cost between £12 and £25, depending on the performance. Tickets can be booked by calling the 01785 254653 or by visiting www.staffordgatehousetheatre.co.uk.