Theatre: A Promising Start For The Bristol Shakespeare Festival 2014
A recently-converted fan, Jon Aitken talks about everything Bristol’s Shakespeare Festival has to offer this year.
I just spent several minutes trying to work out how long it has been since I studied Shakespeare: I’d say about five years. In those five years I have managed to forget the annual horror I experienced upon discovering the set play for the school year. ‘Romeo and Juliet’, ‘Macbeth’, and ‘The Tempest’ are still engraved onto the back of my mind, only shrouded by a thin haze of half a decade doing all things non-Shakespeare-y, just waiting to come back with vengeance. You may have noticed that I like to exaggerate when I write; perhaps this is something I have unconsciously taken from studying the bard. Perhaps.
I have however, altered my opinion of Shakespeare somewhat now I’m not forced to actually study him (last year I even went to Bristol Old Vic to watch a production of ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and enjoyed myself). Unsurprisingly, the absence of exams relieves the pressures associated with watching a show.
It was with interest then that I went to the launch event of Bristol’s very own Shakespeare festival. Serving as a prelude to the actual event in several months, it gave a taster of what was to come.
When the festival opens in July it will be for the 11th time; evidently, Bristol has a thing for the playwright. It will last for three weeks and promises to showcase a variety of talent in locations ranging from The Bierkeller to Windmill Hill City Farm, the latter of which I am the most intrigued by. Performances will include various adaptations of Shakespeare’s work including more adult-orientated shows – for those old enough to attend – as well as productions by youth groups and more.
If the launch event is anything to go by then the festival itself shall be exciting and well produced; already, it would seem, I am enthusiastic about what is to come.
Fancy coming along? Let me know which shows tickle your pickle at @rifemag