Temperatures are rising and the days are lengthening – a sure sign that Eastbourne Operatic and Dramatic Society’s (EODS) annual open-air Shakespeare is just around the corner.
In the Year of the English Garden and the 400th year anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, this July offers Eastbourne audiences a splendid serving of alfresco drama in the stunning and secluded Italian Gardens, located at the foot of the South Downs National Park.
EODS will recreate one of Shakespeare’s most memorable and best loved plays, As You Like It, and the Italian Gardens will be transformed into ‘The Forest of Arden’, the setting in which love is the central theme woven through each of the play’s narrative branches.
Impetuous Duke Frederick having already usurped his brother, now banishes the innocent Rosalind, from Court. Rosalind, a determined girl, dresses as a man to teach Orlando how to win and keep a lover. Orlando has himself fled the Court to escape the evil intentions of his brother Oliver. The scene is therefore set for a showdown in the Forest of Arden to which all these displaced persons have been drawn. With love, rivalry, wrestling, philosophy and comedy, what is there not to like in this play?
EODS will once more set up home in the delightful setting of the Italian Gardens; the beautiful trees which surround the gardens and the sea in the background provide the perfect backdrop for this outdoor production.
The Gardens are an oasis of calm between the busy King Edward’s Parade and the bustling lower promenade. Arrive early and bring a picnic or sample a fine array of home-made cakes, alongside tea, coffee, wine and beer.
In this wooded amphitheatre, EODS will give theatregoers another unforgettable midsummer experience of drama, music and laughter. The Gardens can be accessed either by a path leading down from The Crow’s Nest on the Seafront, which involves steps, or by the limited access road by the lower side of Helen Gardens.
Performances are nightly at 7.30 pm from July 27 to August 6 - but there is no performance Sunday July 31. All audience seating is undercover. Tickets are priced between £13 and £18 and are now available online www.eastbournetheatres.co.uk or by visiting or calling The Congress Theatre box office 01323 412000.