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Shakespeare in the Garden returns to a Fuller’s pub near you

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Shakespeare in the Garden returns to a Fuller’s pub near you
Shakespeare in the Garden returns to a Fuller’s pub near you. Image from Tempest in 2020.

Fuller’s, the premium pubs and hotels business, has announced the welcome return of outdoor theatre, specifically Shakespeare in the Garden. Produced by theatre company Open Bar, this year’s production sees Love’s Labour’s Lost and As You Like It taking centre stage in pub gardens across the Fuller’s estate. This is the tenth consecutive year that Fuller’s pub customers have been able to enjoy alfresco productions from Britain’s greatest playwright.

After the somewhat disrupted year we’ve had, we are all in need of a “Summer of Love”, and the two plays Open Bar are bringing to the stage are just that. Full of comedy, romance and adventure, accompanied with original songs to help follow the plot, the shows truly are for everyone.

This year’s production offers 64 performances across 39 Fuller’s pubs from 13 July to 16 September 2021 – with a performance of “As You Like It” at The Chequers in Weston-on-the-Green on 10 August and one of “Love’s Labour’s Lost” at The Talkhouse in Stanton St. John on 15 August.

Nicky Diss and Vicky Gaskin, Open Bar co-founders, said: “We’re used to making innovative theatre in unusual spaces – our shows are designed to work with their environment and surroundings, not against them. As the audience gets more enthusiastic (and more lubricated, we are in a pub garden, after all). We use it to our advantage. We feed off their energy.

They don’t have to understand every word but, it’s important that we take them with us…that they leave humming the tunes and still laughing at the gags. Thanks to Fuller’s, we are in the extraordinary position of still being able to produce full-scale professional shows regardless of Covid-19 capacity restrictions, maintaining our high production values, employing artists and dreaming bigger and better for 2021.”

Fuller’s Marketing Director, Jane Jones, said: “Our partnership with Open Bar has proved incredibly popular with our customers, and successful for both Fuller’s and Open Bar. We were delighted to be able to continue with our joint venture even during the socially restricted summer of 2020.

“The last year has been a real rollercoaster, and nowhere has that been felt more keenly than in the hospitality and performing arts sectors. Shakespeare in the Garden is truly the perfect experience we all deserve this summer: laughter, romance and, perhaps most importantly, an amazing pint in a beautiful Fuller’s pub garden.”

Love’s Labour’s Lost – Play Synopsis

Four men decide to lock themselves away from all human connection (imagine!) to study and improve themselves – but they soon find that it really isn’t as simple as that, especially when the Princess of France and her three beautiful friends are coming to stay.

Four couples separated by an oath, a “fantastical Spaniard” longing for a forbidden love, misplaced letters, a ridiculous play-within-a-play, a chorus of ukuleles, lightning-fast costume changes, drinks at your fingertips all make for a riotous Shakespeare comedy. Four actors will play all seventeen characters in this mischievous and rather pertinent love story. Laughter, romance and perhaps most importantly, the longest word in Shakespeare.

As You Like It – Play Synopsis

Rosalind escapes her vicious uncle, dresses as a boy (because this is Shakespeare, after all) and heads for the forest. There she meets a group of shepherds and the boy she loves, who also happens to be on the run from her uncle.

Run away with Rosalind and Celia as the Forest of Arden quite literally lands in Fuller’s pub gardens this summer. It may look fresh out of Shakespeare’s day, but it’s as relevant as ever, with original songs to help audiences follow the plot and six actors leaping around an impressive two-storey set.

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