Outdoor Theatre Performances 2019
Come and enjoy some really fabulous theatre productions this summer at Hartland Abbey. Set against the backdrop of this historic house, so deeply steeped in the history of North Devon, this year’s productions promise to keep theatregoers of all ages and tastes well rewarded with some fantastic productions from different travelling theatre companies. It is a perfect reason to get together with family and friends, bring rugs or picnic chairs and enjoy a night under the stars!
Many people make a longer day out visiting the fascinating house with its beautiful gardens and a leisurely lunch or tea in the Old Kitchens Tea Rooms before the performance begins. We will have a our popular Pimms and Wine bar with local cider, beer and soft drinks too. This year we are delighted to have Sam and Amy Lythgoe-Jones back again to provide us with more delicious barbecues as they did in 2018 with local meat (and veggie) at every performance so there is no need to bring a picnic unless you would like to. (Their barbecues are THE BEST!!)
We have some really exciting productions to look forward to this year – further details and images will appear when we receive them from the theatre companies. All thanks to Richard Wolfenden Brown of the Plough Arts Centre who chooses such spectacular shows for us each year!
|Sunday 23rd June 7pm||Hotbuckle
||JANE EYRE by Charlotte Bronte
Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! — I have as much soul as you — and full as much heart!
The young, orphaned Jane meets with cruelty at the hands of her aunt and then at the school to which she is banished. She eventually finds her freedom and becomes governess to the daughter of the enigmatic Mr Rochester at Thornfield Hall. As Jane and Rochester’s relationship grows, it is overshadowed by doubt, dark shadows and terrible secrets and she must choose between passion and reason.
Following the success of Wuthering Heights, “… beautifully handled … this is the company’s best yet” (BBC Radio Shropshire), and Far From the Madding Crowd, “… a magical production” (The Stage), Hotbuckle bring their inventiveness, humour and unique magic to Brontë’s compelling tale.
|Wed 31st July 5pm||Illyria
||ALI BABA AND THE FORTY THIEVES adapted by Oliver Gray
Young Ali Baba stumbles across an enchanted cave when he overhears the magic words that open it: “Open Sesame!”. Inside the cave he finds untold amounts of gold and jewels, and takes some of it home to show his wife. But what will he do when she chides him for stealing? Can he keep the secret from his jealous brother? And when the Robber King comes looking for the missing treasure supported by an army of 40 angry thieves – will he and his family survive?
The show is notable for a scene where one character polishes off most of the thieves – 37 to be precise, and you can count each one – with a cast of just five of the most hardworking actors in the business!
Illyria was the first company to tour children’s theatre on this scale in the open-air touring sector. Following their enormous successes with THE ADVENTURES OF DOCTOR DOLITTLE, THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES, DANNY THE CHAMPION OF THE WORLD, THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE, GEORGE’S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE, BABE THE SHEEP-PIG and THE TWITS they are also regarded as the best.
Now in their 28th season, they return with one of their most popular ever shows, last performed in 2003. ALI BABA AND THE FORTY THIEVES! is adapted from the One Thousand and One Nights (otherwise known as the Arabian Nights). Like all the stories in this towering literary classic it is packed with cliff-hangers, larger-than-life characters, and laughs galore. There’s lots and lots to join in with – and the most magical cave you’ve ever seen! Perfect summer fun for thieves and vagabonds aged 5+.
Running time: 1 hour 40 minutes (including a 20 minute interval)
PLUS Drama Workshop (6-11 yrs) 3-4.30pm
£5 with Sophie & Gabby
|Fri 2nd August 5pm||Box Tree Productions
||THE LEGEND OF KING ARTHUR
Arthur is fed up! He is tired of his knuckles being rapped by his teacher, being ignored by his parents and bullied by his brother Kay. However, little does he know that there is prophecy of a hero, destined to pull the sword from the stone and unite Britain, it couldn’t possibly be little Arthur could it? With Merlin and his knights by his side, will Arthur be able to reunite Britain and thwart the evil plans of Morgan Le Fay?
Boxtree Productions invite families to pack up a picnic and join us in the open air to enjoy this classic tale of Arthur, a sword and the Knights of the round table. With inventive staging, original songs and magical storytelling we will give you and your family an experience you will be talking about for years to come!
PLUS Drama Workshop (6-11 yrs) 3 – 4.30pm
£5 with Sophie & Gabby
|Mon 5th August 5pm||Heartbreak Productions
||GANGSTA GRANNY by David Walliams
It’s Friday night and Ben knows that means only one thing – staying with Granny! There will be cabbage soup, cabbage pie and cabbage cake to eat and Ben knows one thing for sure – it’s going to be soooooo boring!
Heartbreak productions invites you to share in this exciting escapade, a David Walliams best seller adapted for the outdoor stage. Join us, Ben, and his Gangsta Granny on their grandest adventure full of forbidden fun.
+ pre-show drama workshop for 6-11yr olds with Sophie Hatch or Gabby Woolner. 3pm – 4.30pm. £5 (see under workshops to book)
PLUS Drama Workshop 3 – 4.30pm
£5 with Sophie & Gabby
|Thurs 15th August 7pm||The Festival Players
||MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING by William Shakespeare
“The course of true love never did run smooth”, but the sparring antics of Shakespeare’s erstwhile lovers, Beatrice and Benedick, provide great hilarity for the other members of the household who plot to reunite them. Against this background, another romance is almost derailed by the machinations of a jealous Duke until the local constabulary bumble upon his plans. This delicious comedy, popular for over 400 years, will be performed for you by The Festival Players acclaimed all-male Company, in a crystal clear, energetic, colourful production, enhanced by original songs composed by Johnny Coppin. Don’t miss this Summer treat; fun for all the family.
|Thurs 22nd August 7pm||Illyria
||FRANKENSTEIN by Mary Shelley
This gripping tale is now a brand-new musical production created by Illyria, the first and only professional theatre company to have toured outdoor productions of Gilbert & Sullivan classics such as The Pirates of Penzance, HMS Pinafore, Iolanthe, Ruddigore and The Mikado. FRANKENSTEIN is written by the same team who brought you The Adventures of Doctor Dolittle. It features a fully orchestrated musical score, a cast of professional actor singers, spectacular stage effects, puppetry – and flashes of the wickedly dark humour for which Illyria is justly celebrated. The show contains mature themes but is suitable for all ages 5+.
Grounds open free to those attending performances 1 hour before start of 5pm shows, 2 hours before 7pm shows.
Bring rugs/low backed seating/picnics. Refreshments. Bar. Barbecue, Ice creams. Cream teas before 5pm shows.
Please contact the Plough booking office direct on 01805 624624 or online via: www.theploughartscentre.org.uk
You can always join our Facebook and Twitter feeds for up to date information and special offers.
“Plough Community Theatre created a surreal comedic air that gave a sense of a rural community in an isolated grip of madness….we became part of this insanity and had a jolly good laugh” Tony Glynn North Devon Journal (On ‘Lark Rise’ 2013).
Hartland Abbey is off the A39 between Bideford and Bude. Take B3248 through Hartland village towards Hartland Quay.