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28th May 2019

13 – 29 June Original music, a female Feste and 1950s coastal setting are revealed for Guildford Shakespeare Company’s (GSC) opening show of their 14th Open-Air Season: the much-loved TWELFTH NIGHT.

This brand-new production transports the eccentric world of Illyria the sunny British seaside of the early 1950s. In a world still in transition from the austerity and grief of the Second World War and looking towards the birth of youth culture later in the decade, this is the perfect setting for a play that evokes melancholy and merriment in equal measure. “The most perfect comedy ever written” The Guardian.

TWELFTH NIGHT is adapted and directed by long-time GSC collaborator CHARLOTTE CONQUEST, whose credits boast National Theatre, London, Shakespeare’s Globe, National Theatre Oslo and most recently Strictly Ballroom for West Yorkshire Playhouse. She is joined by Set and Costume Designer NEIL IRISH, another regular with GSC whose other work includes Opera Holland Park and English Touring Opera. A play steeped in music; TWELFTH NIGHT will feature original music composed by PETER LOLE, and sung by ROSALIND BLESSED as Feste, who last appeared with GSC as Goneril alongside her father Brian Blessed in King Lear in 2015.

The cast features several other returning actors, including EMMA FENNEY (Maria), ALEX SCOTT FAIRLEY (Sir Andrew) and JAMES BURTON (Malvolio). Joining them are ISAAC STANMORE (Sebastian), TOM RICHARDSON (Orsino) and new graduate FRANCESCA BAKER (Viola). GSC’s Actor-Managers SARAH GOBRAN (Olivia) and MATT PINCHES (Sir Toby Belch) complete the company. The same cast will be joined by Peter Gordon for The Merry Wives of Windsor in July.

Hilarious and heart-breaking, TWELFTH NIGHT follows the fortunes of Viola, who, washed up on the shores of Illyria, disguises herself as a boy to seek employment. Sent to woo the Lady Olivia by Duke Orsino, it soon becomes clear that Viola’s disguise may just be a little too good.

Established in 2006, GSC is the only year-round residential theatre producer in a 20-mile radius of Guildford. Full season details are on the GSC website, including tickets, access and parking.

“Superb summer evening’s entertainment, full of verve and wit, laughter and music.” Essential Surrey (The Two Gentlemen of Verona, 2017, dir. Charlotte Conquest).