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More than 8,000 turn out for Staffordshire Bard fest - in photos

By Tom Oakley | Entertainment | Published:

An outdoor castle performance of Shakespeare's The Tempest is celebrating a successful production – as more than 8,000 turned out for the show.

Stafford Festival Shakespeare producers are celebrating another successful show after the curtain fell on the final performance of The Bard's last play at Stafford Castle on Saturday.

Despite some heavy rainfall at the beginning of the run, a total of 8,057 people turned out to see this year’s production, which ran from Thursday 22nd June – Saturday 8th July, beating the total of the 2016 show, Othello, which 7,902 turned out for.

Audiences and critics alike were united in their praise for The Tempest – which received five star reviews as well as a host of award nominations.

Producer Derrick Gask described it as the “most critically well-received show” in the festival’s 27 year history.

“What an incredible few weeks it’s been, he said.

“To receive one five star review is a fantastic achievement but to get three – from notable publications such as The Stage and Break A Leg review – is simply phenomenal!

"Without doubt, this has been the most critically well received show in the history of Stafford Festival Shakespeare.

"Everyone involved in this year’s production has been blown away by the response and we must say a big thank you to our loyal audiences who came out in force to support us once again."

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The Tempest received a ‘Best Regional Stage Production’ nomination for the Break A Leg Awards 2017, with Stephen Beckett (Prospero), James Lawrence (Sebastian), Richard Gibson (Gonzalo), and Zephryn Taitte (Caliban) nominated for ‘Best Actor on Stage’, and Katrina Kleve (Francesca) and Grace Carter (Miranda) cited for ‘Best Actress on Stage’.

This year’s production of The Tempest was the 27th annual Stafford Festival Shakespeare produced by Stafford Gatehouse Theatre for Stafford Borough Council's leisure and culture services.

Mr Gask added: “It’s also nice to see ticket sales up on the previous year, despite some unseasonal conditions for the first few performances of The Tempest.

"I am absolutely delighted that Stafford Festival Shakespeare continues to attract audiences from across the region and beyond. We remain hugely proud of the festival and long may it continue."

Tom Oakley

By Tom Oakley
Trainee Multi-Media Journalist

Reporter covering the areas of Staffordshire/Walsall and responsible for the Stafford & Stone weekly edition. Came through the Express & Star apprenticeship scheme.

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