Shakespeare gets a music festival make-over in Leeds parks

A bite-sized pop-up show of Shakespeare's best bits is being staged at parks across Leeds this summer.

Saturday, 3rd July 2021, 6:00 am
A Midsummer Night’s Showcase is a highlights reel of the Bard's best bits to be enjoyed from the comfort of your local park.
A Midsummer Night’s Showcase is a highlights reel of the Bard's best bits to be enjoyed from the comfort of your local park.

A Midsummer Night’s Showcase is a highlights reel of the Bard's best bits to be enjoyed from the comfort of your local park.

The show is being produced by Front Room Productions in a similar approach to company's two-week run of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, performed promenade in Temple Newsam’s Walled Garden this August.

Creative Producer, Alice Barber, explains how the company wants to prove that the Big Bad Bard can be a fun and relatable experience for all.

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“The Showcase is really good fun - lots of glitter, silliness, and music! It aims to give people a little taste of some of the funniest and most dramatic moments in Shakespeare’s plays - as well as bring a little bit of joy and magic to Leeds’ beloved outdoor spaces,” she said.

The show takes a dynamic format, with scenes selected from a hat at random, which the cast will perform on the spot. Scenes will be punctuated with familiar pop-hits, performed live, to

help contextualise the action.

Front Room is no stranger to giving Shakespeare a new and exciting twist - in 2018 having brought their abridged adaptation of ‘Twelfth Night’ to Temple Newsam’s Home Farm,

featuring hits from the likes of the Kaiser Chiefs and Coldplay, and stage invasions from farmyard animals.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream will continue in a similarly contemporary vein” said Olivia Race, artistic director of the company. “Without changing any of Shakespeare’s words - bar the

odd geographical update - we’ve transported the show to the grounds of Temple Newsam during festival season.”

“It’s the perfect setting for a muddled, magical love story,” adds Barber. “The atmosphere is emotionally charged, people are letting their inhibitions go, and it’s all a little bit surreal.”

Front Room have previously performed in and around some of Leeds’ most iconic locations, including Kirkgate Market, Temple Newsam’s Amphitheatre, and the Civic Hall."

She added: “It’s been a difficult year for companies like ours. Navigating Covid-19 guidelines adds an extra layer of planning, but we’re so thrilled to be able to make a return to live performance in the beautiful surroundings of our home city.”

A Midsummer Night’s Showcase will be performed in Middleton Park (July 18), Bramley Park (July 24), Roundhay Park (July 25) and Temple Newsam Estate (Aug 6) at 2pm and 5pm.

Performances are free to attend, but places must be booked online in advance at frontroomproductions.co.uk

A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be performed in the Walled Garden at Temple Newsam Estate from 4th - 15th August. Tickets are available at www.frontroomproductions.co.uk.

Both events will comply with Covid-19 guidelines, and are supported with funding from Arts Council England, and Leeds Inspired, part of Leeds City Council, from the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society, and the Leeds Outer East, Inner West, Inner North East and Inner South Community Committees.

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