Should you overhear the clink of swords, raised voices or the strains of an Elizabethan madrigal emanating from an Eastbourne garden, the chances are you have happened upon Eastbourne Operatic and Dramatic Society in their final stages of preparation for their performance of Twelfth Night at the Italian Gardens, Holywell.
From new recruit Helen Wood, playing an attendant to the Countess Olivia to veteran performer Bryan Ayres, appearing as the priest, the whole cast have been working hard for months to make ready for this annual Shakespearian experience.
With the warmer weather, rehearsals have moved outdoors, allowing the actors to acclimatise to the challenges of an open-air production.
Arguably Shakespeare’s greatest romantic comedy, Twelfth Night weaves a tale of mistaken identity, trickery and confusion, in which nothing is as it seems; all this against a background of love and romance.
Viola loves Orsino who loves Olivia, who in turns loves Viola – as is so often the case with Shakespeare, life is never straightforward in Twelfth Night.
Adding to the mix Sir Andrew Aguecheek and pompous servant Malvolio, also have designs on Olivia , which the mischievous pairing of Sir Toby Belch and Maria cannot resist exploiting. Twelfth Night runs from the July 29 to August 8 (No performance Sunday August2), nightly at 7.30pm.
All seating is covered. Arrive early and bring a picnic or choose from tea, coffee wine and beer and a fine array of homemade cakes in the refreshment marquee.
Tickets from the Congress Theatre box office 01323 412000. £18, 15 and concessions £13 Or www.eastbournetheatres.co.uk