The Cotswold Arcadians present open-air Shakespeare every Summer in the Cotswolds

Our 2019 production will be Shakespeare's

Love's Labour's Lost

22 - 27 July, 2019
Hatherop Castle

Love's Labour's Lost     ..a gentle soufflé for a Summer evening..

The first recorded performance of Love’s Labour’s Lost  was at the court of Queen Elizabeth in 1597, which may reflect its character as a light-hearted, romantic tale meant to liven up the gloom of midwinter for its aristocratic courtiers. The 'Wars of Religion' in France had recently ended and England itself was deeply troubled by internal religious conflict. Shakespeare chose to make light of these events by satirical references and complicated word-play, not least in the creation of the absurd comic character Don Armado, a direct reference to the Spanish Armadas of some nine years previously.

These ‘… in-jokes for Shakespeare's contemporaries, frequently baffling to the most committed scholars, may simply be ignored…' and this is our chosen version of the play, which is fast-paced, merry, with comical sketches punctuating an unfolding romantic, light-hearted tale.  I have had in mind that so oft-repeated complaint, 'I studied Shakespeare at school and understood little of it'. Here is an easily accessible story and delightful soufflé of a play, ideally suited to a summer evening at Hatherop.

We have the King of Navarre, demanding that the young men of his court renounce the world for three years for study and book-learning, with complete isolation from the world, not least from women and all temptation. His male companions agree, largely out of sycophancy, except for one who has a regard for men's baser instincts and desires.  On to the scene comes a delegation from the King of France, led by his daughter and her ladies, initially forbidden to enter the Royal enclosure. Like Ascot, the barriers are soon breached - and the men humiliated (#MeToo rejoice !). 

Throw into the mix the absurd Don Armado, a virile clown, a randy peasant wench, a ridiculous, pedantic schoolmaster and a nervous curate, plus the routing of the males and the pot boils merrily and entertainingly.  And, like 'Love Island', the king and his men are presented with one final test to gauge their strength.
We look forward to welcoming you to this delightful, light-hearted evening of romance, comedy and inconsequential mirth on the lawns of Hatherop Castle in 2019.


Picnic in the beautiful grounds before the performance

Picnic in the beautiful grounds before the performance