Explore our archive of original content, cast lists and images from our past shows.
A storm at sea throws twins onto new shores. Rescued and reinvented, there is little time to mourn: Illyria is in the “Roaring Twenties”! Our effervescent production provided a cocktail of confusion, comedy, and cross-dressing, as Viola tried to make sense of who she is, who she loves, and what the hell is going on…
Much Ado About Nothing
Sun-drenched post-war Italy was the setting for this famous comedy, centering around celebration, courtship and love. Two contrasting pairs navigated their way through matchmaking and manipulation, influenced by secret schemes and animated by a comedic battle of wits. Key characters Beatrice and Benedick found themselves torn between love and the reluctance to fall into it…
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
After the long dark days of the pandemic, PSF was thrilled to present live theatre once more and to welcome audiences to the woodland wonderland of Wylds Farm for the first time. No better way and no better play to inaugurate the new look festival than with A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The prospect of sitting amongst meadow flowers beneath a magnificent Red Oak, on a hillside clad in Christmas trees, surrounded by an ancient magical forest, made it the obvious feel-good choice for 2021.
Monologues and More
In 2020, the winning entries from our writing competition, Shake it Up, were to be performed at the Festival by our professional cast… but the pandemic had other ideas. So we reinvented the Festival, turning the best scripts into short films and PSF2020 went digital! The Nurse, Juliet, Tybalt, the Apothecary, Friar John, Romeo and Lady Capulet all had a new spin on their lives; watch them below!
The Comedy of Errors
Our sea-shanty infused ‘The Comedy of Errors’ provided music, dance, merriment and confusion on an epic scale! The cast of twelve added bells and whistles aplenty to Shakespeare’s rumbustious comedy set in the bustling port of Ephesus, where a stranger and his servant searched for their long-lost twin brothers. Did Antipholus and Dromio succeed in their quest with only five hours to spare? There were brilliant slapstick moments, but also a great sense of the fragility of identity in the play; what it means to be a man or a woman in differing social contexts and how that can be rocked.
A corrupt court and at its centre, poised on a knife edge where conscience meets revenge, is Hamlet. Exhorted by his murdered father to take revenge upon his uncle, Hamlet seeks a way through a cabal of intrigue and deception. In his attempt to expose the truth and see justice done, the lines between reason and insanity blur. Hamlet is a student turned action hero, who must now star in his own play, despite its bloody climax. In this sharp, modern production directed by Jake Smith, eight actors played all the characters, switching roles, revealing Hamlet’s increasing disorientation and paranoia.
PSF was thrilled to continue its commitment to new writing with the world premiere of Abyss, a play by Associate Playwright, Laura Turner. Inspired by the painting “Ophelia Drowning” by John Everett Millais, Abyss tells the story of a young woman struggling with grief and was the perfect companion piece to Hamlet in 2019. Abyss blended theatre, spoken word, live art and literature to explore how the motifs of women, drowning and madness have become inextricably linked in our culture.
We took you on a cinematic, exhilarating ride as captains and kings, heroes and cowards, lords, ladies and low-lifes switched between palaces, camps and battlefields. To coincide with the centenary of the end of World War I, Shakespeare’s play about war moved to the twentieth century battlefields of France exploring the glory, the horror, the absurdities and moral dilemmas of war that are still with us today. Amid the field hospitals and spiky barricades, a twenty-strong cast recreated the battle of Agincourt and the trenches of the Somme; full of brilliant movement, stirring battles and magnificent poetry, it’s a favourite.
The Taming of the Shrew
Laura Turner’s quirky adaptation had audiences rolling in the aisles during its sell-out runs at Bedales and at Winchester Theatre Royal. Set in ‘The Shrew’s Tavern’, a pub locked in the 1980s, somewhere to the North of Watford, family and friends gathered to celebrate a marriage with a surprise performance of the bride’s favourite play. When half the cast is stranded on the M62, plans plunge into chaos…. and the mother of the bride finds herself performing a leading role. Modern day misunderstandings and misinterpretations were mirrored within the full- pelt anarchy of Shakespeare’s comedy – performed as never before!
As You Like It
One of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies with the most witty and wise-cracking heroine of them all, As You Like It was transformed into a bold new production by Jake Smith and Chris Cuming. PSF2017 blended the magic of British music festivals with an al-fresco production of “As You Like It.” The play was set in “Arden-Fest,” and featured original music compositions by David Barton. Jake and Chris worked to maintain the play’s historical essence while integrating the vibrant modern festival scene.
The Buried Moon
Fresh from its premiere at The Rose, Bankside, and inspired by the theory that the character of Caliban may have been informed by legends of creatures that haunt the Lincolnshire wetlands, “The Buried Moon” is an exploration and reimagining of the Miranda/Caliban dynamic set in the fen communities of today. A young woman is struggling after her mother’s death and goes onto the marshes to take her own life. She is saved by a monstrous looking young man and a friendship is born. Miranda is never sure if Caliban is a malignant spirit or a lost soul looking for home.
Shakespeare’s Lost Women
This piece was one PSF’s first ventures into new writing inspired by Shakespeare, exploring his influence on our modern world. Double “Will” presented two brand-new plays: Shakespeare’s Lost Women by Greg Mosse and The Buried Moon by Laura Turner. The former takes the stories of some of the Bard’s forgotten female characters, often plot drivers, gives them life and rounds them off. What happened to the Nurse after her early exit in Romeo and Juliet? What was the name of the gaoler’s daughter in Two Noble Kinsmen? Caliban’s mother, Sycorax – wronged and blamed and deserving of a different history?
The centrepiece of our 2016 Festival was Shakespeare’s final and most mysterious play, The Tempest. It was a wonderful piece to present at the enchanting Sotherington Barn, and was brimming with events to stimulate the imagination. The play started with a spectacular storm scene following which the themes of power, betrayal, revenge, and reconciliation were explored against a backdrop of young love, familial rivalry and comic misunderstandings. A masque of goddesses, spirits in form of a pack of hounds and a half-domesticated monster all added to the magic!