Caesar the day... and enjoy outdoor theatre at its very best at Tolethorpe

Julius Caesar - crowd scene
Julius Caesar - crowd scene

Throughout the summer the Stamford Shakespeare Company will once again be bringing a season of plays to the stunning Rutland Open Air Theatre at Tolethorpe Hall.

Described by The Sunday Times as “One of the finest things to do this summer” and The Stage as “One of England’s premier alfresco theatre venues” it really is an experience not to be missed. This summer the company have three fantastic plays, starting with Twelfth Night (June, July and August dates, opening on June 11)

Blithe Spirit - seance scene

Blithe Spirit - seance scene

Set in Albania in the early 19th century, garnished with live music and glorious costumes, Shakespeare’s greatest comedy, Twelfth Night, containing some of his finest comic characters, is a merry tale of unrequited love, shipwrecked twins, cross dressing, mistaken identity and drunken revels.

The hilarious antics of roguish Sir Toby Belch, foolish Sir Andrew Aguecheek, pert Maria and prim Malvolio will delight audiences young and old.

Opening on June 18 (with dates in June, July and August) is Shakespeare’s epic tragedy Julius Caesar.

Political and military rivalries spiral out of control in one of his most gripping plays which features some of his greatest characters.

Twelfth Night - Orsino, Cesario, Antonia and  servants

Twelfth Night - Orsino, Cesario, Antonia and servants

In this powerful drama set in Ancient Rome, Brutus and Cassius, fearing the growing domination of Julius Caesar, plot his death. But when, on the Ides of March, the dictator is assassinated, Mark Antony unleashes the rage of the people against the conspirators.

Completing the trio is Blithe Spirit, which opens on July 9 (with dates in July and August).

Noël Coward’s wonderful, supernatural comedy set in the late 1930s, portrays the trials and tribulations of novelist Charles Condomine, who foolishly holds a séance to research his latest book.

When the eccentric medium Madame Arcati accidently summons the spirit of his first wife, Elvira, his life descends into chaos. How will Charles cope caught between two wives, one dead, the other very much alive?

The theatre is situated in the grounds of historic Tolethorpe Hall, where last summer over 33,000 people experienced the magic of a visit to this unique venue. The auditorium faces an open air stage set within an idyllic woodland glade.

The permanent canopy above the audience means no performance is ever cancelled because of inclement weather.

Enjoy a picnic in the glorious gardens, then take your seat, protected from summer showers, and see a stage like no other.

Also to be seen at Tolethorpe Hall are two stained glass windows, believed to be the only example anywhere in the world of stained glass portraying scenes from eight Shakespeare plays. The gardens overlook classic English parkland, where every night hundreds of people enjoy picnics before heading into the auditorium to sit back, relax and be entertained.

If you would like something more formal than a picnic, you can dine in the restaurant, where more than 5,000 meals are served during the season.

There is also a theatre bar for enjoying pre-performance and interval drinks and a spacious orangery where interval coffee is served.

Tickets cost £11 - £19 from the box office on 01780 756133 or online at: www.stamfordshakespeare.co.uk