Desire & Drama

Round & About

Twelfth Night

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.

Cross Country

Round & About

Twelfth Night

A Shakespearean comedy for Candlemas cycles into Capron House in Midhurst this month, as the lads from the Handlebards present Twelfth Night.

The Handlebards, comprised of Paul Moss, Callum Cheatle, Tom Dixon and Callum Brodie, have an eco-friendly ethos as well as a love of the Bard!

They have been touring the country, and further afield presenting plays by Shakespeare while pedalling hard between venues carrying all the costumes, scenery and camping gear on their four bikes. They are joined in their cross-country capers by the girls, who when they return from Asia will be touring the country with tales of star-crossed lovers.

Twelfth Night tells of Duke Orsino who is in love with lady Olivia, but she won’t have anything to do with suitors. Viola is shipwrecked and believes her twin brother Sebastian to be dead. She pretends to be a boy and becomes a servant to Orsino. Olivia falls in love with Viola, believing her to be a boy, whilst Viola falls in love with Orsino. Then Viola’s twin turns up…

Meanwhile, Sir Toby Belch (Olivia’s uncle), Sir Andrew Aguecheek (his friend), Maria (a maid) and Feste (a jester) plot to make a fool out of the pompous Malvolio (Olivia’s head steward).

Book your tickets for Twelfth Night on May 30th at 6.30pm for tickets for this evening of riotous amounts of energy, a fair old whack of chaos. They’ll also perform at Guildford’s Electric Theatre on 27th. Visit