Historic backdrop for festival

THE iconic landmark of Arundel Castle provides an historic backdrop for the Arundel Festival while providing an intimate atmosphere for drama and opera performances.

This year sees highly professional and entertaining productions of music and drama in two of the Castle’s favourite locations.

On Monday August 23 a delightful concert in the magnificent Barons’ Hall, entitled ‘Some Enchanted Evening’, includes classic music and songs from the golden era of the great Hollywood and Broadway musicals, featuring Rodgers and Hammerstein favourites.

The wonderful acoustics of the Barons’ Hall also lend themselves to Puccini’s famous arias. His sublime Tosca is staged by Candlelight Opera on Tuesday August 24 when the venue allows the audience to be physically close to the action as the dramatic and thrilling story unfolds.

Two of the Bard’s classic comedies grace the Castle’s stunning Collector Earl’s Garden for open-air performances between August 26 and 28. Thursday and Saturday sees Shakespeare’s pastoral comedy As You Like It, while Friday night sees a performance of The Merry Wives of Windsor. These productions are by the acclaimed British GB Theatre company which comes to Arundel from a tour covering Dublin and Prague, bringing former Hollyoaks star Matt Milburn and Gabriel Thomson from BBC One’s My Family in exquisite Elizabeth costume. The group is known for successfully interpreting the Bard’s word from page to stage.

The garden was opened two years ago by HRH The Prince of Wales and is now established as a blaze of colour and horticultural interest – attracting great attention from human visitors and insects alike.

“The new plantings are at their best and will provide a delightful setting for the Festival productions”, says head gardener, Martin Duncan. “Everything has burst into life and the Duchess’s vision of the new wildflower area is looking particularly good with traditional blue cornflowers and long forgotten wild flower varieties.”

Castle manager Bryan McDonald said: “We are delighted to host the launch of this year’s Arundel Festival. The Collector Earl’s Garden provides the perfect backdrop for the Shakespeare performances and in a very short time our Jacobean-style formal garden has become a must-see attraction on the tourist trail. ”

Full ticket and performance details from the Box Office on 01903 882173 or www.arundelcastle.org.