Stooged to thrill with Merchant of Venice

THE Shakespeare in Gloucester Festival celebrates 16 years of bringing visitors to town for a celebration of the world’s favourite playwright in 2014. 

The festival runs from Thursday, May 8 to Saturday, May 10 and the Shakespeare play featured this year is The Merchant of Venice. 

Returning to Gloucester for the first time since 2010 is Newcastle’s acclaimed Stooged Theatre which will present the dramatic Shakespearean classic. 

Festival committee chairperson Maureen Hjorth is thrilled that Stooged Theatre will be back on the Gloucester stage. 

“They’re a very capable and experienced ensemble and, with Carl Young’s extraordinary directorial skills, theatre-goers are sure to enjoy the performance,” she said. 

“Tickets will be available soon online or at the Visitor Information Centre.”

The 2014 program includes perennial favourites such as the special matinee performances for visiting school groups from across the State and the rollicking good fun of a Shakespearean spoof Canned Hamlet performed by the local GACCI Players. 

The illustrious Bell Shakespeare Theatre Company also returns to Gloucester with more of their Shakespeare master class workshops and the festival weekend just would not be the same without the popular Elizabethan Fair and Farmers Market. 

Organiser Brad Bowden said that the fair will feature more merchants with interesting and unusual products, as a result of customer feedback. 

“We want to ensure that the fair is an event that drives visitors to Gloucester,” he said.

“We want them to believe it’s worth travelling for locally grown fresh food, wine, unique wares, music and other medieval entertainment. 

“There are some new things planned especially for kids and we’re encouraging everyone to come dressed up in Elizabethan costume and join the fun.”

The Shakespeare in Gloucester Festival is a not-for-profit community-run event, auspiced by Gloucester Shire Council. 

It is included in council’s events strategy to drive visitors to Gloucester as part of the shire’s community strategic plan.

The Elizabethan Fair is a popular part of the Shakespeare Festival.

The Elizabethan Fair is a popular part of the Shakespeare Festival.