Star-crossed lovers set for summer

An Eastbourne landmark was transformed into glorious Verona last week, when Eastbourne Operatic and Dramatic Society held a photo shoot to publicise their forthcoming open-air production of Romeo and Juliet.

Lester Seale and Emily Wood, playing Romeo and Juliet respectively, were delighted to don costumes and climb to the grand balcony of the Town Hall. Both are making their debuts for EODS, but the pair has a wealth of theatrical experience between them, having appeared in both school and local productions.

Lester, who started performing aged just five, even had a spell in the West End, playing Drake the Butler in Annie Jr. at the Arts Theatre, Leicester Square.

A drama student from Hailsham, Lester was thrilled to win the part of Romeo, whilst Eastbourne girl Emily says it is a dream come true to be playing Juliet. Emily follows in the steps of big sister Helen, who has appeared for EODS on several occasions.

Director David Foster, has chosen a traditional Renaissance setting for the play, but in his words, with a few twists, so expect some surprises! The story of the star-crossed lovers, penned around 1594, is one of the most enduring love stories of all time.

The protagonists come from families on opposite sides of a bitter feud, but nevertheless meet and fall in love. Married in secret, a plan is hatched for them to elope that goes tragically wrong.

EODS have been performing Shakespeare at the beautiful Italian Gardens for almost 20 years.

These outdoor productions now boast spacious and protective marquees for the audience, commercial lighting rigs and lavish sets. With the sea as a backdrop the Gardens are the perfect setting for an evening of outdoor theatre.

With the assistance of lobbying from the Friends of Meads Parks and Gardens, the location has received a facelift from Eastbourne Borough Council this year.

For those unfamiliar with this local gem, the Gardens can be reached via the restricted access road by the Helen Gardens or from steps a stone’s throw from the Crow’s Nest. Performances 7.30pm nightly July 24 to August 3 (no performance Sunday July 28). Tickets £14-£19 available now from the Eastbourne Theatres box office, online www.eastbournetheatres.co.uk or phone 01323 412000 or from the Tourist Information Office in Hyde Gardens. With sell-out audiences last year, theatregoers are recommended to book early to avoid disappointment.

For more information please visit www.eastbourneshows.co.uk