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Special events

Open air productions 2018

Othello and Much Ado About Nothing, 18th to 30th June, 19:30 at Oxford Castle
Join BMH Theatre for a Shakespeare double-bill this summer! The same cast will perform one-hour versions of Othello and Much Ado About Nothing back-to- back on the same night. The two shows will be directed by Alistair Nunn and Jessica Reilly, and the shows will explore the troubling details of love, and how jealousy and envy can be both overcome – and how they can lead to joy or disaster! BMH are specialists in ‘One Hour Shakespeare’, having been performing at the RSC’s Dell Theatre in Stratford, with condensed versions of the bards plays for the past 10 years and previous productions at the Oxford Shakespeare festival and beyond.

A Midsummer Night's Dream, 21st June, 18:00 at Basing House
Chapterhouse Theatre Company presents Shakespeare’s best-loved romantic comedy. Let yourself be whisked away on a thrilling journey to the most magical of forests and meet star-crossed lovers, playful fairies and hilarious travelling players. Beautifully designed Elizabethan costumes, a wonderful musical score and enchanting woodland creatures come together to make this an evening of unmissable summer garden theatre.

Get Well Soon, 1st July, 16:00 at Abbey Ruins, Reading
7th July, 19:30 at Britchcombe Farm, Uffington, Faringdon
19th July, 19:30 at the Eyot Centre, Henley-on-Thames
20th July, 19:30 at The Riverside Tea Garden, Sonning Lock
22nd July, 14:00 at The Rowbarge, Woolhampton
31st July, 15:30 at Benson Marina, Benson
8th August, 19:30 at Wolvercote Green, Wolvercote, Oxford
70 years of the NHS! All is not well at St Monica’s Hospital. They’re on life support; facing bugs, bed-blockers and a battle to save A & E. With tunes, transfusions and titters, join Mikron Theatre Co as we make a surgical strike on the state of our NHS.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2nd to 28th July, 19:30 at Oxford Castle
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is Shakespeare’s best loved comedy and one of the greatest plays in the English Language. Young lovers escape Athens to a forest so they can marry in secret. Meanwhile, some workmen also arrive there, looking for a quiet place to rehearse a play they will perform for the great Athenian Duke. In the forest the King and Queen of the fairies, helped by their fairy servants, play tricks on them all with hilarious results. Great comedy and farce with music, song, dance and sumptuous costume. This, elegant and dynamic production will always remain faithful to Shakespeare’s beautiful language. Tomahawk Theatre returns to the magnificent Oxford Castle this summer. The production will take place in the open air, in the exquisite surroundings of the Oxford Castle courtyard. This is a hugely enjoyable and compelling piece of theatre, which sparkles as brightly as Puck’s fairy dust.

Much Ado About Nothing, 3rd to 5th July, 19:30 at Magdalen College School Field, Oxford
Sicily, 1950. The turf war is over. Don Pedro and his half-brother Don John are reconciled and arrive in Messina with their entourage as guests of Leonato. All seems well as young lovers Claudio and Hero prepare for their wedding, but treachery lurks close and the honour of men is jealously guarded… With some of Shakespeare’ best-loved characters and wittiest writing, Much Ado About Nothing is at once dark, moving and very funny. A cast of MCS students brings Sicilian romance and menace to the banks of the Cherwell. Part of Oxford Festival of the Arts.

The Rivals, 10th to 14th July, 20:00 at The Garden at Little Bowden
The Goring Gap Players and The Basildonians are presenting a joint open-air production of The Rivals by Sheridan, directed by Barry Steele – in the beautiful grounds of Little Bowden (near Pangbourne). This follows the very successful 2014 production of Midsummer Night’s Dream in the same gardens. Lovers of this most popular of Sheridan’s comedies will delight again in the well-known characters of Mrs Malaprop (with her wrong words) and Sir Lucius O’Trigger (the wild Irish Baronet), also the deceptions and love-tangles of Jack Absolute and Lydia Languish - and their young friends - all as set in Bath, the then racy holiday destination of the late 1700s. Setting the play outdoors, as afternoon drifts into dusk, brings the chance to enliven the excitement of the attempted final dual scene in Kings-Mead Fields with special illumination achieved by ‘flaming’ lanterns to enhance the atmospheric effect as the play heads to its ultimately happy conclusion after all.

Much Ado About Nothing, 11th to 21st July at Reading Abbey Ruins
Enjoy an open-air production.of this great Shakespearean comedy - although with a touch of darkness. Much Ado About Nothing follows the return of soldiers from war. Packed with intrigue, double-crossing and plenty of laughter, Much Ado About Nothing is the perfect introduction to Shakespeare. Following the turbulent romances between Hero and Claudio and Beatrice and Benedict, this exploration of what loyalty, chivalry, and true love really mean empowers us to challenge our perceptions of relationships. Our production moves the story from Italy to an English house at the conclusion of World War Two. It will be using the story of the lovers to explore the nature of the relationship between men and women as well as exploring themes of jealousy and class. Leonato welcomes his friends back from war. His daughter, Hero, is in love with Claudio. His niece, Beatrice, verbally spars with Benedict. Can their friends conspire to bring them together? Will Leonato’s brother, Don John, succeed in driving Claudio and Hero apart? Can the watchmen overcome their incompetence to bring out the truth? A Progress Theatre production.

Lark Rise, 18th to 21st July
Lark Rise brings back to life an Oxfordshire village in the late nineteenth century. With a large and colourful cast of true village characters of all ages and with music and song. This year’s summer production by Blewbury Players.

Revolting Women, 19th July, 19:30 at the Eyot Centre, Henley-on Thames
20th July, 19:30 at Sonning Lock, Reading
25th July, 19:30 at The Rowbarge, Woolhampton
27th July, 19:30 at Goring Lock
31st July, 20:00 at Benson Marina, Benson
2nd August, 19:30 at The Plough Inn, Long Wittenham
Why did it take so insufferably long for women to get the vote? London. 1918. Revolting Women tells the Suffrage story through the eyes of a less well-known Pankhurst, Sylvia, who fought for the vote alongside working women in the East End. Sylvia meets Lettie and together they push to Parliament, to bend the ear of the Cabinet. A story of absolute commitment or dangerous obsession? Full of political satire, song and more suffrage societies than you can shake a stick at, Revolting Women unravels a contentious and momentous movement in history! Mikron Theatre Co.

Romeo and Juliet, 30th July to 11th August, 19:30 at Oxford Castle
This is Siege’s fourth year in partnership with Oxford Castle Unlocked, and having taken on the challenge of some of Shakespeares most dramatic pieces, this beautiful and enthralling setting will now be the backdrop for our version of Romeo and Juliet. At once a tale of young loves impetuous reaction to parental control, crack the surface and you’ll find a deep, dark and menacing world to challenge any of the bard’s great tragedies. Using power and love as the central pillars of this dynamic production, the team will be creating a show that explores the depths of control, the weight of tradition and the consequences of disobedience. We’ll see how both power and love can corrupt, how both can make you blind and ultimately how both can take that which is most precious to you. So come with an open heart and an open mind to see how our ‘star-crossed lovers’ deal with this most tragic of tales.

The Importance of Being Earnest, 4th August, 17:45 at The Vyne, Basingstoke
By Oscar Wilde. Everybody loves Ernest. In fact, Cecily and Gwendolen are both engaged to Ernest. The only trouble is, Ernest doesn't exist. Or does he...? This energetic production from the critically-acclaimed Pantaloons gives this play a hilarious twist!

The Tempest, 11th August, 17:45 at The Vyne, Basingstoke
'We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.' The Lord Chamberlain's Men return to The Vyne's north lawn to perform this Shakespearian classic.

Peter Pan, 13th August at Shaw House Outdoor Theatre, Newbury
Get ready to think happy thoughts and fly high as the mischievous Peter embarks on an awfully big adventure, introducing the Darling children to the lost boys, the cheeky Tinkerbell, the hilarious Smee, and a host of other exciting characters before facing the most feared villain of them all, the infamous Captain Hook! Filled with catchy music, heaps of audience interaction, a laugh-a-minute script, and the opportunity to meet the characters after the show, this hilarious and exciting musical of the boy who never grew up promises to have every member of the family entertained throughout… You’ll be HOOOKED!

Sense and Sensibility, 19th August, 18:00 at Basing House
Join Chapterhouse Theatre Company this summer as Elinor and Marianne Dashwood make their first forays into the exciting world of Regency society. Adapted by award-winning writer Laura Turner, this exquisite and lively tale follows the sisters as they fall in love, make mistakes and experience heartbreak for the first time in their quest to find a balance between sense and sensibility.


Two-week village festival at Stockcross in Berkshire. Tickets and details from These are the theatre-related events.

Puccini Greats, 15th August
Kennet Opera's concert featuring the works of Giacomo Puccini, with excerpts from such all-time favourites as Madame Butterfly, Tosca and La Bohème, culminating, of course, in the stupendous Nessun Dorma.

HADCAF (Hungerford And District Community Arts Festival)

Box office details at Facebook. Twitter.

London Suite, 5th July, 20:00 at the Croft Hall
By Neil Simon. A Hyde Park hotel suite provides the fashionable setting for four individual short plays, each with a different tone. As London Suite veers from thriller to farce we meet an array of different characters, including a novelist holding his accountant at gunpoint, a rich widow on a rather odd date, a talk show host being reunited with her ex, and “the man on the floor”. A Newbury Dramatic Society production.

The Hysterical Historical Show, 6th July, 20:00 at the Croft Hall
A wacky whirlwind tour of Britain’s female national treasures. Meet notorious gossip Mrs Gaskell and her timid friend Charlotte Bronte, learn about Marie Stopes and her little known friendship with Scott of the Antarctic, stage a protest with the ever radical Pankhursts, meet Georgian housekeeper and inventor of cuppa soup Elizabeth Raffald, Annie Horniman, creator of the modern repertory theatre, and many more. Nothing is sacred. But we hope you have been paying attention because there will be a quiz, not a very serious one, with points and points mean prizes.

Sleeping Trees: World Tour, 8th July, 20:00 at the Croft Hall
Comedy trio Sleeping Trees have been travelling around the world! They’ve been scuba-diving at the Great Barrier Reef, trekking the ancient Inca trails of Peru and gone dogging in Blackpool. But what starts as an innocent journey of discovery soon leads to an intricate series of events, culminating in the secret mission to end all missions. A story of love, revenge and friendship, and by friendship, we mean revenge.

Private Peaceful, 13th to 14th July, 19:30 at Hungerford Royal British Legion
Told through the eyes of Private Thomas Peaceful, the story covers one night during the First World War. He recounts his memories of childhood and the horrors of the trenches as the hours move towards dawn and his unknown fate. Based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo, the author of War Horse, the story is a moving celebration of life while underlining the senselessness of war. A Hungerford Youth Theatre production.

Puccini Chunks, 14th July, 16:00 at Our Lady of Lourdes
Kennet Opera's concert featuring the works of Giacomo Puccini, with excerpts from such all-time favourites as Madame Butterfly, Tosca and La Bohème, culminating, of course, in the stupendous Nessun Dorma.

Bad Fortune: A Murder Mystery Supper, 15th July, 19:30 at the Croft Hall
Presented by Mike Brook and Associates. The evening begins with a short play by a group of West Berkshire actors, revealing a murder, followed by dinner (with a veggie option) and questioning of the suspects to identify the culprit. Come along as a team or join a team on the night. Interrogate the suspects; solve the clues; accuse the guilty!