History

The amateur Stamford Shakespeare Company was founded in 1968 by Jean Harley, with a performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in the Monastery Garden of the town’s historic George Hotel. It was under the auspices of the Stamford Arts Centre Committee in aid of the proposed new Arts Centre and restoration of the Georgian Theatre in St Mary’s Street.

In 1971, with the Arts Centre programme well under way the theatre group became independent and was named for the first time, the Stamford Shakespeare Company.

Open air Shakespeare plays continued at The George for nine years until the last performance in 1976. The hotel could no longer accommodate the summer open air theatre because of building work including a new car park and in August, 1976 the company had to look for another location.

By chance, Tolethorpe Hall came on the market in a near derelict state early in 1977 and it was acquired by the Stamford Shakespeare Company with the help of a generous private loan later repaid. The main interest was a natural amphitheatre in the grounds which was quickly converted into a concrete stepped, raked auditorium covered by a temporary canvas canopy. The first season opened May, 1977 with performances of ‘Macbeth” and “The Taming of the Shrew”.


Tolethorpe Hall

2018 SEASON

PERFORMANCE DATES

ONLINE BOOKING

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TESTIMONIALS

"One of the finest things to do this summer."
The Sunday Times

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"One of England's premier alfresco theatre venues."
The Stage

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"It really was superb... the scenery, costumes and actors were all fantastic, as per usual... another brilliant production."
Tracy (patron watching Hobson’s Choice in 2017)

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"One of the most entertaining plays I have seen in a long time."
Carol (patron watching Hobson’s Choice in 2017)

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"First experience yesterday and will most definitely be back... as good as any West End show I've seen... just brilliant."
Jo (patron watching A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2017)

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"One of the funniest and best performances I’ve seen in over 25 years of visiting Tolethorpe for my annual fix of Shakespeare."
Melissa (patron watching Much Ado About Nothing in 2017)

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"Hilarious... the production was inventive... the acting was superb... this was one of my most enjoyable experiences at a Shakespeare production ever."
Steve (patron watching Much Ado About Nothing in 2017)

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"Reaching new levels of excellence and innovation... some of the most compelling acting I've seen at Tolethorpe, full of passion and humanity and delivered with crystal clear diction."
Peterborough Telegraph (review of Much Ado About Nothing in 2017)

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"Best play I've seen at Tolethorpe... amazing comic timing... laughing out loud... fantastic play."
Stamford Mercury (review of Much Ado About Nothing in 2017)

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"The set design is excellent... the audience in stitches... a hoot."
Sardines Magazine (review of Much Ado About Nothing in 2017)

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"Excellent sets... another outstanding performance... nicely judged and hilariously managed."
Peterborough Telegraph (review of Hobson’s Choice in 2017)

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"Excellently played... the comic timing of lines is perfect."
Sardines Magazine (review of Hobson’s Choice in 2017)

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"Rollicking rendition of a classic comedy... talented cast... great comic timing... had the audience in stitches."
Leicester Mercury (review of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2017)

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"First class... costumes are marvellous... actors are all excellent... the audience rock with laughter."
Sardines Magazine (review of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2017)

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"We hugely enjoyed our evening, including a rattling good performance of Hamlet."
Richard Todd OBE (guest of honour at a production of Hamlet in 2000)

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CONTACT STAMFORD SHAKESPEARE COMPANY




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