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Shakespeare Festival 2019 (c) Norwich Cathedral’s Shakespeare Festival returns 

Norwich Cathedral’s centuries-old Cloister will be transformed into the Forest of Arden for this summer’s Shakespeare Festival as the rustic comedy As You Like It takes to the stage.


After wowing audiences last year with sold-out performances of Macbeth, The Lord Chamberlain’s Men are this year returning with one of the Bard’s best-loved comedies for the open-air festival which is always a summer highlight at the Cathedral.

As You Like It will be performed in the Cloister on Friday 8 and Saturday 9 July and tickets are on sale now via the Cathedral website cathedral.org.uk

The Revd Canon Andy Bryant, the Cathedral’s Canon for Mission and Pastoral Care, said: “The Shakespeare Festival is a wonderful summer tradition here at the Cathedral and we are delighted The Lord Chamberlain’s Men will be joining us again this July with their latest production.

“We love welcoming audiences to the Cathedral’s beautiful Cloister for this very special celebration of Shakespeare, and The Lord Chamberlain’s Men always put on a great show. After their incredibly poignant production of Macbeth last year, we cannot wait to see what fun is in store with As You Like It this summer!”

Packed full of music, comedy and celebration, Shakespeare’s As You Like It Is a heart-warming tale of true love and identity that takes its audience back to nature.

Banished to the Forest of Arden, Rosalind and Celia, the noble Orlando, and the usurped Duke Senior and his courtiers all set up new lives amidst the trees. Free from the constraints of their former lives, lovers tussle, fools spar, family bonds are challenged, and everyone wrestles with what it really means to be yourself. In exile they become exultant as true love and true identity is found in the forest.

Peter Stickney, TLCM’s Artistic Director, said: “As You Like It is a wonderfully warm, funny and rich play.

“We follow our main characters as they flee or are exiled from the court to set up new lives in the Forest of Arden. There they find love, freedom and, ultimately, happiness. There is clearly much to be said for running away to the countryside and starting again!

“There will be plenty of songs and laughs, some classic Shakespearean cross-dressing confusion and a spot of wrestling.”

He added: “There is something particularly special about enjoying this story of the joys of nature and its powers of rejuvenation and rebirth whilst sat with grass under foot and a star-filled night sky above us. Truly magical. We hope you can join us for it.”

The Lord Chamberlain’s Men are a modern-day incarnation of the Bard’s own travelling troupe of players, and they will be performing As You Like It just as it would have been played out in Shakespeare’s day - with an all-male cast, full Elizabethan costumes and traditional music and dance.

The company have spent more than 15 years entertaining audiences across the country and beyond, and at Norwich Cathedral they have previously performed The Comedy of Errors, Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth.

The Norwich Cathedral shows are always something of a homecoming for Peter Stickney as he grew up nearby in Saxlingham Nethergate, went to Long Stratton High and Hewett School, and first developed his love of theatre while acting in high school shows.

He said there was always something special about watching Shakespeare performed in the open air.

He said: “Experiencing Shakespeare’s productions outside, where he first saw them, is a truly special thing. As the light fades and the moon shines bright, it is thrilling to think that we are looking at the same moon Shakespeare did whilst we listen to words he wrote more than 400 years ago.

“We have been lucky enough to make and enjoy theatre in special outdoor settings for many years and I hope those looking to experience top-quality theatre will join us to enjoy this unique theatrical experience.”

Keeping people safe continues to be the number one priority at Norwich Cathedral and the Cathedral has achieved Visit England and Visit Britain’s official We’re Good To Go mark, which highlights Covid-secure venues.

The Lord Chamberlain’s Men’s open-air production is ‘See it Safely’ compliant and will adhere to government and industry Covid safety guidance, ensuring every effort is made to protect audiences and company members at all times.

The Lord Chamberlain’s Men will perform As You Like It in Norwich Cathedral’s Cloister on Friday 8 and Saturday 9 July 2021 at 7pm. On both nights, doors will open at 6pm for people to enjoy the beautiful surrounds of the Cloister before the show.
Tickets cost £20. Concessions (over 60s, NUS and under 16s) £18.

To book, visit cathedral.org.uk/shakespeare

Seating is provided but unreserved. 
Picture by Bill Smith

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