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Carry on Shakespeare at Stafford Castle

Staffordshire | News | Published:

Hundreds of theatre lovers will descend on Stafford Castle tomorrow to celebrate a special milestone in the town's Shakespeare festival.

Hundreds of theatre lovers will descend on Stafford Castle tomorrow to celebrate a special milestone in the town's Shakespeare festival.

Organisers are hoping for one of the best shows yet as the event marks its 20th year in Stafford. And they are expecting the current warm spell to boost ticket sales.

The open air performance of the bard's comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor will open for its first night tomorrow and run until July 10 with the play set in the picturesque surroundings of Stafford Castle.

Producer Derrick Gask said: "Rehearsals for The Merry Wives of Windsor have been going really well. The stage is looking fantastic at the castle and so far, we couldn't have ordered better weather. We are hoping it stays that way until July 10. We are keeping our fingers crossed but whatever the weather, the cast and crew are really looking forward to entertaining Stafford with our Carry On style Shakespearian comedy, come rain or shine."

Set in 1958, the year of the first Carry On film, the farce is placed in an era of 'you've never had it so good' consumerism, teddy boys and glamorous girls.

It tells the story of Falstaff, the big-headed knight who launches a plan to seduce two married women in order to acquire their fortune.

Former Coronation Street star Eric Potts, who played baker Diggory Compton, performs as Sir John Falstaff and returns to Stafford after playing Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night last year. Viewers will also recognise Wanda Opalinska as Wiki Dankowska the Polish factory worker at Underworld.

The creative team that produced last year's Shakespeare hit include award-winning director Peter Rowe and production designer Rodney Ford.

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The score is provided by musical director Greg Palmer and choreography from critically acclaimed Francesca Jaynes, who has worked alongside Steven Spielberg and Tim Burton for films such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sweeney Todd and Alice in Wonderland.

There will also be pre-show fun and games inspired by 1950's English fetes, including traditional coconut shies, Guess the Weight of the Cake, Soak the Vicar, a treasure hunt and even a knobbly knees contest.

To purchase tickets for The Merry Wives of Windsor call Stafford Gatehouse Theatre Box Office on 01785 254 653 or book online at www.staffordfestivalshakespeare.co.uk.

Ticket prices range from £17 to £22 Monday to Thursday and up to £23 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

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