This week the Castle Players have been performing their annual play by a certain William Shakespeare, as they have done for many years past.
But first a word about the location of this years play. Ever since the Players began performing Mr S.'s plays in the grounds of Bowes Museum, they have been staged under The Tree, a great tree to the west side of the Museum - everything was in the open, the grass of the stage area, the seats for the spectators - and no matter what the weather the performance went ahead (two years ago I went to a performance where it rained solidly for the whole play, and quite a large number of the audience disappeared at the half-time interval - the actors just got drenched!). This year the stage area was moved to a new place, at the back of the great lawn behind the Museum. As you can see in the first photo, this is the area where picnics take place before the play starts and during the interval. Two very large trailers with built-in, drop-down, seating shelter the audience under a canopy (apart from the front row where I was sitting - I was wet by a light shower). The whole area was barricaded from passers-by with plastic sheeting, and I had the impression that the inside must be quite small and compact. In fact, when I went inside to take my seat, the inside seemed to expand, like Doctor Who's Tardis, to an extraordinary degree. And there at the back of grassed stage area was another great Tree, even, to my mind, better than the Other Tree. I just loved the new setting and I hope that the Castle Players will keep the new set-up in the future.
|The Museum Lawn|
|The new Grandstands|