About us

Our History

At a meeting in the spring of 1990 some 70 people — mostly from local amateur Dramatic Societies —  agreed that by joining forces and pooling talent they could produce a performance that would be more than the sum of its parts and an event in which the participants would accumulate expertise as well as enjoying the experience.  They decided to stage an outdoor production of one of Shakespeare's plays in the Cotswolds and the Cotswold Arcadians was born.

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.

Shakespeare wrote at least 37 plays (and collaborated on many more) and the Cotswold Arcadians have presented 21 of these (A Midsummer Night's Dream three times and six others twice) and also Falstaff, a compilation of the elements of Henry IV Part 1, Henry IV Part 2 and The Merry Wives of Windsor involving Shakespeare’s greatest comic character.