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Guildford Shakespeare Company announce their OPEN-AIR SEASON 2020
11 JUNE – 27 JULY 2020: SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER and AS YOU LIKE IT will form Guildford Shakespeare Company’s 15th annual open-air season in Guildford, Surrey.
Surrey’s award-winning theatre company kick-off their outdoor season in June with Oliver Goldsmith’s sublime Georgian comedy of manners, one of the best-loved and most-performed of English comedies.
First staged in 1773, SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER takes place over the course of a single night, when a young gallant called Marlow is led to believe that his future bride’s family home (the Hardcastles, whom he has never met), is in fact a country inn. When confronted with the elegant Kate Hardcastle, his swagger melts away, and so to conquer his heart and keep up the pretence, the tenacious Kate poses as a barmaid. Full of ludicrous mischief, racy dialogue, and a gallery of colourful characters, GSC promise a glorious evening of fun and laughter.
Director TOM LITTLER returns to Guildford following his 2019 production of All’s Well That Ends Well (‘A beautiful, magical production. 5 stars doesn’t do it justice.’ – London Theatre 1), which was GSC’s co-production, and was nominated for five Off-West Awards. His current production of The Tempest featuring actor Michael Pennington is running at Jermyn Street Theatre, of which Tom is the Artistic Director.
In July, the acting company relocates to a new venue just outside Guildford in the village of Bramley. The walled gardens, orchard and farm buildings of Gosden House will play host to Shakespeare’s AS YOU LIKE IT. Built in the late 1700s, Gosden House is celebrating its centenary this year as a school, and its adjacent common is also the site of the first recorded ladies’ cricket match in 1745. A fitting setting for Shakespeare’s free-thinking heroine, Rosalind.
CAROLINE DEVLIN follows last summer’s hugely popular The Merry Wives of Windsor (“Pure enjoyment from beginning to end” British Theatre Guide), with a 1930s-set production, where the Brown Shirt-inspired Duke Frederick has created a society of conformity or death. Against this backdrop of Fascist oppression, Rosalind, Celia and Touchstone escape to the Forest of Arden, a playground of hopes and dreams, where freedom of thought liberates and unites.
Arguably Shakespeare’s happiest play and containing some of his most memorable speeches, As You Like It is a sunny celebration of human nature’s desire to forgive and forget, to love and to laugh.
Casting is currently underway, and general booking opens 28 April.