An introduction to the Bard

The highlight of Queens Park Arts Centre’s Shakespeare Festival takes place at 8pm on Saturday as the Limelight Theatre stages A Celebration of Shakespeare.

The show will feature a selection of speeches, scenes, sonnets and songs exploring the breadth of Shakespeare’s work, 400 years after he died.

Limelight Theatre manager Dario Knight has compiled and directed the show. He said: “It’s a whistle stop tour of the Bard’s work, taking in history, tragedy, comedy and romance. Narrowing down the list of extracts to be performed was tough but I think we’ve got a great mix of iconic moments as well as some pieces that might not immediately spring to mind when you think of Shakespeare.”

The show features a host of local actors who have appeared in multiple productions at the Limelight in recent years, plus newcomers to the venue, including Ben Molloy, who had a starring role in the Limelight’s record breaking pantomime Beauty and the Beast last year. The show will also feature live music courtesy of Jenny Wright, a songwriter and choir leader who runs classes at the centre.

A Celebration of Shakespeare marks the first community production of the year from Unbound, the centre’s in-house storytelling programme, and is intended to be an introduction to the world’s greatest wordsmith.

Mr Knight said: “It’s an ideal jumping on point if you’re new to the world of Shakespeare - irreverent in tone but lovingly so. We’ve tried to make each extract as accessible as possible for newcomers, whilst also providing a chance for Shakespeare aficionados to enjoy seeing his work performed live.”

The festival runs throughout 2016 and includes drama, writing and art and craft workshops inspired by the Bard’s work.