Open air theatre

Macbeth rehearsal by Thame Players. From left Abi Tester (Lady Macbeth), Ryan Whitney (Macbeth) and director Chris Parker
Macbeth rehearsal by Thame Players. From left Abi Tester (Lady Macbeth), Ryan Whitney (Macbeth) and director Chris Parker

The 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare is to be celebrated with an open air production of Macbeth.

Thame Players, an amateur group who run the town’s only dedicated theatre, will present the play in the gardens of a privately owned Edwardian house, accessed from Thame’s Upper High Street.

This follows the group’s highly successful open air Much Ado About Nothing in the same setting two years ago.

And don’t worry if the weather is inclement - undercover seating will be provided.

Director Chris Parker believes this production will offer a breath of fresh air for those who prefer their Shakespeare set in its original period. He is taking the play back to its historic roots in 11th century Scotland. It will be authentic, including costumes and weaponry consistent with the period. Against this backdrop, Mr Parker sees Macbeth very much as a thriller, taking the audience on a nail biting journey into the dark realms of human nature, complete with witchcraft and supernatural elements. At the same time, the impact of human frailty and lust for power are laid bare, as the characters are caught up in a tempest of their own making.

Mr Parker is well qualified to direct Shakespeare, having previously produced and obtained funding for several other Shakespeare plays at open air locations. And he has worked with Sam Wannamaker at the Globe Theatre.

Macbeth will be played by Ryan Whitney, who has performed in amateur and professional roles, and his emphasis will be on exposing the sinister nastiness of the Scottish king.

Lady Macbeth will be played by Abi Tester, whose experience with powerful, emotionally charged roles includes playing Joy in Shadowlands and Dona Rosita in Lorca’s play of the same name.

Thame Players are taking care to ensure the audience experience is an pleasurable as possible. There will be undercover seating for all, so rain will not be a problem. Picnics can be brought in to eat in the grounds, and delicious food provided by Kirsty’s Kitchen will provide hot and cold food each day on site.

If you don’t want to make your own picnic, you can pre order ‘Macbeth’ (£23 for two people) or ‘Macduff’ (£20 for two people) from Kirsty’s Kitchen, call 01844 202685 or email kirstyskitchen@gmail.com

Macbeth will be performed in the gardens of 32 The Elms, Upper High Street, Thame at 7.45pm from Tuesday July 5 through to Saturday July 9 with an additional 2.30pm matinee on the Saturday. Gates will open from 6.15pm for the evening performances and from 1pm for the matinee. Tickets £10 and £9 are available from Spear Travels, 01844 217228 or book online at www.thameplayers.co.uk.