Show goes on for The Stamford Shakespeare Company despite the showers

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A SEASON of outdoor plays has begun with a bang – despite the occasional downpour.

The Stamford Shakespeare Company kicked off its summer schedule on June 4 with a week of Twelfth Night performances, followed by a week of Henry IV Part 1.

And despite sometimes soggy conditions the crowds have flocked to Rutland Open Air Theatre in the grounds of historic Tolethorpe Hall.

Marketing manager Steve Whittaker, who has been playing Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night, is pleased with the shows so far.

He said: “People are not being put off, they are bringing rugs and having their picnics in their cars if need be.

“We did have a real downpour last week but we carried on.

“We are used to it. You can’t knock the British spirit.”

The audience at Tolethorpe is protected from the worst of the elements by a canopy but the actors on stage, along with the backstage dressing room, are in the open air.

Steve added: “We have brought in heaters and dehumidifiers to dry out the backstage area so the costumes don’t get damp.

“The nice thing is that the cast never moans, they are absolutely brilliant. If the rain falls we try and project even harder because people have come from a long way to support us.

“People appreciate that we do carry on and their evening is not wasted.”

The Shakespeare season continues through July and August, with Twelfth Night and Henry IV Part 1 alternating weekly.

The Three Musketeers will also be introduced in July for a more modern flavour.

For full performance dates and booking details, visit www.stamfordshakespeare.co.uk

The Stamford Shakespeare Company is looking for sewing volunteers to add to its team.

Steve said: “We have a bank of volunteer costume makers who come in a couple of times a week.

“The ladies are really good, they get together and it’s a hobby for them, but we are looking for a few more volunteers.”

If you are interested in joining the team, call Lynnette Ford on 01780 754381.