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Rehearsals underway for The Tempest at Stafford Castle

The cast of this year’s Stafford Festival Shakespeare production of The Tempest have begun rehearsals this week at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre ahead of their performance in the magical, open-air surroundings of Stafford Castle from 22nd June – 8th July.

The cast will spend three weeks rehearsing with Director Clare Prenton, including music rehearsals with Musical Director Craig Adams.

The show boasts a wonderfully talented cast, including star of Coronation Street and The Bill, Stephen Beckett, and Richard Gibson who is well known for his performance as Her Flick in the popular 1980s BBC sitcom, ‘Allo ‘Allo!

This twentieth century era production of The Tempest is set against the backdrop of the glamour and elegance of the 1930s – the golden age of luxury cruise liners, Hollywood glamour and the dying days of vaudeville – all from a small Italian occupied island off the coast of Somalia.

Acknowledged as Shakespeare’s final solo play, The Tempest is widely celebrated as one of The Bard’s most enchanting works. It follows the story of Prospero, the exiled Duke of Milan, who becomes stranded on a largely uninhabited island where music, magic and supernatural creatures provide a strange education for him and his young daughter, Miranda. Twelve years pass by and Prospero acquires some basic magic and self-taught mysticism of his own, all the while protecting his daughter from his slave, Caliban.

When Prospero's magic (with the help of his sprite, Ariel) causes a shipwreck, mayhem ensues in the course of one incredible day: Miranda falls in love with the shipwrecked Prince Ferdinand, murder plots are formed then abandoned, finally Prospero is reconciled with the brother who usurped him and all head safely home to Italy.

“There is literally something for everyone in The Tempest - it’s a crowd pleasing last hurrah from the master entertainer Shakespeare, which he wrote as his last solo play before retiring to Stratford.” commented Director Clare Prenton.

“This year, we decided on a post-colonial take on the story, with Italy colonising Eastern Africa at this time. Initially thinking about the ‘Titanic’ era, I settled on the 1920s/30s as a period of relative stability, before the next storm - Fascism sweeping Europe and later, World War II.

“Myself and the rest of the Creative Team are very pleased to be back in Stafford once again and can’t wait for audiences to see our next production in, as always, the most wonderful of settings.”

The Tempest will open on Thursday 22nd June and run until Saturday 8th July 2017 at Stafford Castle. For the first time in its 27 year, SFS 2017 will also feature a Sunday performance on 25th June at 5pm.

Tickets start from £13.50. Full information, including this year’s catering options, can be obtained from the box office on 01785 619080 or by visiting www.staffordfestivalshakespeare.com

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Stafford Gatehouse Theatre
Eastgate Street, Stafford, ST16 2LT

Box Office: 01785 619080
Email: gatehouse@staffordbc.gov.uk

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