Shrew-ed planning at Sand, Sidbury

Sidbury’s Sand hosts popular open-air Shakespeare evening to aid soldiers in need and the historic home

JULY sees the eagerly-awaited annual open-air Shakespeare performance at Sand, Sidbury.

In true Shakespearian tradition, the Festival Players Theatre Troupe will offer an all-male evening production of The Taming of the Shrew on Thursday, July 21.

In its aim to make Shakespeare accessible to all, the Troupe’s Sand performance is one of 60 on its 25th annual UK tour, which also includes Berlin this year.

Scott Smith portrays the Bard’s feisty Katharina – with her scolding tongue and fiery temper - while Paul Hampton is her mad-cap suitor, Petruchio.

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Just seven actors tackle the roles, including innovative director Michael Dyer, as the rich nobleman Vincentio.

Regular participant Martin Tomms is Kate’s father Baptista, with Adam Trembath, Andrew Bowen-Jones and Jeffrey Han filling the remaining parts.

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Initially, in this great comedy of farcical impediments, impersonation, and impassioned love, Kate is an unwilling participant in the relationship, but Petruchio takes on the challenge of “taming” his bride.

Asked if the theme resonates with a modern-day audience, Dyer says: “Over the past few decades some of the attitudes of men towards women, exhibited in this early Shakespeare, have not played easily in our more liberated society - but The Taming of the Shrew has an amazing comic plot and a wealth of colourful characters and we are confident we can engage our audiences.”

Scenery and costumes are courtesy of the Design and Production department, Trinity University College, Carmarthen. Music for the performance has been written by folk rock star Johnnie Coppin.

Sand’s historic house and the Army Benevolent Fund (ABF), will benefit equally from the production.

The ABF pays out some �10,000 a year in East Devon alone to soldiers, former soldiers and their families in need of financial support.

This need is growing with the number of soldiers injured in recent operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and anyone able to aid ABF’s work should contact its regional director, Lt Col Alan Gorczyca at Wyvern Barracks, Exeter, EX2 6AR, call (01392) 492650 or email:

Fields of Sidmouth is again sponsoring the evening. Advance tickets for adults are �12.50, children �8, with prices on the night at �14.50 and �10 respectively. Call Sand (01395) 597230, for more details.

The gardens open at 6pm for picnics and the performance starts at 7.30. Bring your own seating and warm clothing for when the sun goes down.

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