Desire & Drama

Round & About

Cotswold Arcadians will perform Twelfth Night outdoors at Hatherop Castle from Monday, 23rd to Saturday, 28th July, writes Catherine Hitchman.

Twelfth Night will be set in the fashionable seaside resort of Illyria in an England benefiting from the sustained prosperity of the Roaring Twenties. It was an era of social, artistic and cultural dynamism with Jazz music blossoming – the so-called Golden Age. Live music will be provided by a jazz group consisting of baritone and tenor sax, clarinet, cornet and ukulele banjo, with some specially arranged songs.

Generally considered to be Shakespeare’s most perfect comedy, Twelfth Night is an incomparable blend of exquisite poetry, boisterous laughter and bittersweet emotion. Over 400 years it has become one of the most popular of his plays for young and old alike, yet it is 23 years since the Arcadians last presented it at their previous home of Quenington Old Rectory in Cirencester.

Romantic love, and the pain it can cause, are key components of the play. The self-regarding central triangle involves Orsino, Olivia and Viola who are caught up, not in their family circumstances but in their own and each other’s fantasies. They are seen as prisoners of desire. But this can also be said of Sir Toby and Maria, Sir Andrew and his unrequited love for Olivia, and even, Malvolio in his self-love and unresolved passion for his mistress.

No long and languorous soliloquies in this play – it’s a racey, pacey rom com packed with naughty humour, mistaken identity, gender switching, deceit, confusion, rollicks, frolics and beautiful poetry, beribboned and bejewelled in plentiful music from start to finish.

The venue of Hatherop Castle in Cirencester (now a co-educational preparatory school) is part of an estate mentioned in the Domesday Book – the surroundings are beautiful so as summer sunshine has been ordered (!) why not get a party of friends together, bring your picnic and drinks, and why not dress up to match the setting of the Jazz Age in 1920s outfits too?

To buy your tickets, visit or call the box office on 01285 898019.