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Campaigning against proposals to expand Stansted Airport

image Press Release - 15 May 2008


The annual and highly popular Shakespeare In The Garden event in Widford (near Ware) will this year feature The Winter's Tale - the Bard's haunting and moving tragic-comic romance that includes the most famous stage direction in Shakespeare, "exit pursued by a bear."

The performance takes place on Sunday 6 July in the grounds of Bullards, the historic home of Michael Beckman QC, who each year invites the Gloucester-based Rain or Shine Theatre Company to stage a performance in support of a different cause. The company specializes in outdoor summer tours of classical theatre to castles, stately homes and gardens throughout the UK.

All profits from this year's tenth anniversary event will go to Stop Stansted Expansion's second runway fighting fund.

The Winter's Tale is set in the court of Sicily and built around the relationship of Leontes, King of Sicily, and Polixenes, King of Bohemia who have been friends since childhood. However, when Leontes falls prey to an irrational jealousy and accuses his wife Hermione of having an affair with Polixenes, the repercussions have shattering results for all concerned. Sixteen years go by and the shepherds of Bohemia are celebrating their spring festival, unaware that amongst them are a comical singing rogue, Autolycus, and a young couple, all destined to play a part in the reconciliation of Sicily and Bohemia. At times both comic and tragic, Shakespeare carefully weaves The Winter's Tale into an incredible story of human frailties and, ultimately, strengths.

The performance will continue in the open air come rain or shine in all but the worst weather (of 58 performances across the country last summer only one had to be abandoned).

Tickets are available in advance at 12 each (15 on the day) and 8 for children. The grounds open at 4.30pm for those wishing to picnic and the performance begins at 6pm. Those attending should bring low backed chairs or a rug, while small gazebos are welcome for the edges of the garden. Licensed bar. For bookings, contact Stop Stansted Expansion on 01279 870558, or book online (booking fee applies) through www.ticketweb.co.uk.


See photo showing members of The Winter's Tale cast
Left to right: David Middleton (Polixenes), Charlotte Kingsford (Hermione) and James Reynard (Leontes)

Carol Barbone, Campaign Director, SSE: M 0777 552 3091, cbarbone@mxc.co.uk

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