Shakespeare Festival returns to Norwich Cathedral this summer

The Shakespeare Festival at Norwich Cathedral

The Shakespeare Festival at Norwich Cathedral - Credit: submitted

The beautifully crafted words of the Bard will fill the grounds of one of the city's most historic sites once more, as the Shakespeare Festival returns to Norwich Cathedral this summer.

The Shakespeare Festival at Norwich Cathedral

The Shakespeare Festival at Norwich Cathedral - Credit: submitted

Now in its fifth year, the festival has seen a number of the celebrated wordsmith's plays staged in the cathedral's cloister, and this year's programme will see A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Merchant of Venice performed by GB Theatre Company in the surrounds of the ancient architecture.

The four-day festival, in association with the Eastern Daily Press, will run from July 2 to 5.

Barrie Palmer, artistic director for GB Theatre Company, said casting was under way for the two shows and he was looking forward to including Norwich Cathedral in the company's outdoor theatre tour once again.

Asked why the company had picked The Merchant of Venice and A Midsummer Night's Dream for the 2013 shows, he said: 'They are such contrasting plays, such different plays written by Shakespeare.


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'A Midsummer Night's Dream is a fantasy with a lot of comedy, and then you have got the other side of things with The Merchant of Venice and a pound of flesh.

'It is more serious but there is still comedy within it.

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'The Merchant of Venice is something that isn't done a great deal outside but I think it will work very well.'

Mr Palmer, who will be playing Peter Quince in A Midsummer Night's Dream, said he thought Norwich Cathedral was a wonderful place to perform.

He said: 'The cathedral is absolutely brilliant, just gorgeous. Although it is a relatively large space it is very intimate in many ways.

'It is one of those lovely venues where people can feel part of what is happening on stage and all the actors really like it.'

A Midsummer Night's Dream will be directed by Ed Viney and The Merchant of Venice will be directed by Louise Hill.

During the 2012 Shakespeare Festival audiences enjoyed outdoor performances of the The Taming of the Shrew and The Tempest, while in 2011 the festival programme included Romeo and Juliet and Twelfth Night.

A Midsummer Night's Dream will be performed on Tuesday, July 2 and Thursday, July 4. The Merchant of Venice will be performed on Wednesday, July 3 and Friday, July 5. All performances start at 7pm. Tickets for each show cost £18 for adults and £14 for concessions (over 60s, students, and under 16s). To book call 01603 630000, visit www.cathedral.org.uk, or buy in person at Norwich Theatre Royal or Norwich Cathedral's gift shop.

For more about the GB Theatre Company visit www.gbtheatrecompany.com

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