The Cotswold Arcadians stage large-scale open air Shakespearean theatre productions each summer

Our History



It was at a meeting in Cirencester in the spring of 1990 that some 70 people — mostly from local amateur Dramatic Societies — agreed to present together in the Cotswolds an outdoor summer production of one of Shakespeare's plays. By joining forces and pooling talent they were certain they could produce an event that would be more than the sum of its parts; in which the participants, besides enjoying the experience, would accumulate expertise.

By the autumn of 1990, a venue — the Quenington Old Rectory — had been found; and three local Societies, together with the Gloucestershire Drama Association, had agreed to lend a total of £600 by way of seed-money. In June 1991 the Cotswold Arcadians presented its first production ― The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Since then productions have been staged every July, their technology and their scale both evolving beyond recognition. The enchantment of the Old Rectory River Garden presentations was transmuted for 2002 into the splendours of Williamstrip Park but since then a new home has been established in the magnificent grounds of Hatherop Castle where we hope to perform for many years to come.


The Cotswold Arcadians always welcomes and encourages new blood so if you feel that you would like the opportunity to direct for us, please do make contact.

Our Chairman, Geoff Butterworth will be pleased to have an exploratory talk if you wish, but then it would be helpful for you to tell us a little about yourself and to submit a brief presentation of your proposal. Which play would you like to direct? In what period and style would you like to set it? Do you have any specific ideas about the casting or staging?

You can contact Geoff on 07768 360391 or

If you look at our Past Productions page you will see which plays the Cotswold Arcadians have already performed and when. As at 2018 we have performed 19 of Shakespeare's canon and 7 of these more than once. In 2016, we staged Falstaff, a specially compiled drama based on the life of Sir John as featured in four of Shakespeare's plays.


Join The Cotswold Arcadians

Membership of the Cotswold Arcadians is free, and open to anyone who supports the objective of staging a high-quality outdoor performance of a Shakespeare play in south-east Gloucestershire each summer.

Applications for membership are considered at each committee meeting, and the Annual General Meeting in October, so you can join whenever you like.
Many of our members have been involved with amateur – and sometimes professional – drama for a number of years, whilst others join us with no theatrical experience. As well as actors, we need directors, stage crew, costume and make-up artists, sound and lighting technicians – and of course marketing, finance, front of house, and all the other skills needed to run a successful theatre company.
Members are entitled to:
• be informed of general meetings, auditions and any other events
• vote at general meetings
• stand for election to the management committee

Why not join us? We can offer you fun, friendship and the satisfaction of contributing to the creation of something unique. Just email your contact details using the form below or direct to

Or if you prefer give us a call for a friendly chat.


01285 850131

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