Shakespeare comes to life at Lincoln festival

Celia Rees reads from her latest book at the opening of Lincoln Shakespeare Festival

The Lincoln Shakespeare Festival kicked off on Friday night at the Drill Hall with Jukebox Shakespeare and guest speaker Celia Rees.

The Chapter House Theatre Company will put on an array of Shakespearean spectacles in the city this weekend, including performances of Taming of the Shrew and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

There will also be free demonstrations in the Bailgate and Castle Square repeated at various times throughout Saturday followed by an Elizabethan Parade that will be leaving St Paul’s at 1.00pm on Sunday.

The festival got off to a great start with a presentation from Celia Rees, the bestselling author of Witch Child, reading extracts from her latest title The Fool’s Girl, a story inspired by Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.

Rees explains that she hopes that her books go someway to making Shakespeare more accessible to her teenage readership.

“My books are much more accessible as they are not actually of the period, I’m writing them.

“So hopefully I can help the reader access something of the style of the time and the way in which they might have spoken, might have written and how they might have thought, but I translate it so that a modern reader can dwell in it but it is not like they have been thrown completely into that world.”

Shakespeare himself appears in Rees’ story, she admits that writing him as a character was a challenge but that she had a lot of fun creating the tale behind the inspiration for her favourite Shakespearean play.

The evening began with performances from the Chapter House Theatre Company acting out a selection of Shakespearean speeches chosen by the audience.

Showcasing their talents, and whetting some whistles for the weekend ahead, they did a great job of entertaining the crowd:

“It’s been great! I asked them to read All the world’s a stage, they read it very well. I think Chapter House is one of the Jewels of Lincoln,” said Paul Halfyard.

“I think it has gone very well! Tonight has been a great opportunity for the actors to read parts they wouldn’t normally get a chance to play. This is a great group. They all work really well together. I’m very excited to see how the play goes tomorrow night,” added Rebecca Gadsby, director of Taming of the Shrew.

The Taming of the Shrew will be playing at Lincoln Drill Hall, Saturday 3rd September at 7.30 pm and A Midsummer Nights Dream will be playing on Sunday 4th September at the open air theatre at The Lawn at 6pm. Ticket prices vary.

More events part of the festival are listed on the Lincoln Shakespeare Festival Facebook page.