The set is painted, costumes pressed and props organised, as EODS enter the final stages of preparations for As You Like It, their 15th Shakespeare production in the beautiful Italian Gardens at Holywell.
Duke Frederick has already banished his elder brother when he turns his wrath on the unsuspecting Rosalind who flees with close friend and daughter of the Duke, Celia. Meanwhile the evil Oliver has never liked his youngest brother, the virtuous Orlando, and forces him into exile too.
Rosalind and Orlando having fallen in love at first sight, have no option but to continue their courtship in the Forest of Arden, but nothing ever being straightforward with Shakespeare, Rosalind is determined to set the ground rules. She conceals herself as a man (Ganymede) in order to teach Orlando how to woo his lover Rosalind.
Bertie Beeching makes a welcome return to the Italian Gardens as Orlando, and is joined by Megan Good making her debut with EODS, playing Rosalind, Playing close friend Celia is Jaz Manville, and in the role of Orlando’s evil elder brother Oliver, is talented newcomer Leigh Jordan. Ex-Ratton student Sam Hackney-Ring is back at the seafront gardens for a second time, playing Silvius, the lovelorn shepherd.
Director Neil Stocker says: “As You Like It is first and foremost a comedy about love and truth, yet Shakespeare provides us with meditations on the nature of life and death. Be prepared for evil villains, pure-of-heart heroes, strong and smart women, a clutch of clowns and a melancholic philosopher. Throw in a bout of wrestling, a band of musicians and four weddings and you have the ingredients for an unforgettable evening of drama, music and laughter.”
The Italian Gardens, created from a disused quarry in the 1920s and currently under the scrutiny of The Friends of Meads Parks and Gardens who have big plans to restore them, provide the perfect backdrop for this alfresco production. In this wooded amphitheatre, EODS talented performers will give theatregoers a truly memorable evening of entertainment. 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 7.30pm from July 27 to August 6 - no performance Sunday July 31. All audience seating is undercover.
Tickets priced between £13 and £18 are now available online www.eastbournetheatres.co.uk or by visiting or calling The Congress Theatre box office 01323 412000.