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Pendley Shakespeare Festival

You are in: Beds Herts and Bucks > Entertainment > Pendley Shakespeare Festival > Pendley: Outside challenges!

Rehearsing outside!

Rehearsing outside!

Pendley: Outside challenges!

Performing outside can pose all sorts of challenges. We asked some past Pendley performers what the challenges are and what they dreaded most!

Pendley Festival 2009

4-8 August 2008

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Will Edwards’ first production at Pendley is Shakespeare’s quintessential romantic comedy. Notorious thespian Peter Broad (Sir Toby Belch, Twelfth Night 2008) plays the notorious thespian Nick Bottom.

11-15 August 2008


Following his magical production of The Tempest in 2007, Stephen Artus returns to Pendley to direct Macbeth. With Sarah Whitehouse (Viola, Twelfth Night 2008) as Lady Macbeth, the production promises to be “bloody, bold and resolute”!

Eves: 8.00pm
Grounds open at 6.00pm for picnicers and refreshments are also available.

Box Office open from 2.00pm on the 7 July 2009

Tel: 01442 820060

Performing and watching plays in the open air is one of summer’s great pleasures – weather permitting of course – but with it can bring all sorts of interesting obstacles for the actors, and the Pendley Shakespeare Festival is no exception.

Here, some past Pendley performers tell us what they find challenging and their worst case scenarios!

Playing in the open air must have its challenges, do you find that daunting?

Douglas Dean

Douglas Dean

Douglas Dean – Shylock, The Merchant of Venice (2008)

The open air nature of Pendley is part of its great attraction for me. I love the challenge of communicating to so many people, of telling them a story, of drawing them into the world of the play. Naturally it’s more demanding vocally and physically to perform at Pendley than it is in a smaller, more intimate venue and sometimes the more delicate subtleties of an actor’s performance must be sacrificed to ensure the audience “gets it” but those small disadvantages are more than compensated for in many other ways.

Nick Quartley – Malvolio, Twelfth Night  (2008)

No, at least now that the Luton flights are not directed immediately over Pendley as they were 30 years ago!

Peter Broad

Peter Broad

Peter Broad – Sir Toby Belch, Prince of Aragon  (2008)

Having played The Tempest in a storm at the Minnack Cornwall (open air on the cliffs of Pothcurno) I like to think I’m prepared!

Harry Livingstone – Orsino, Twelfth Night  (2008)

Playing to an audience of 600 in this vast space does pose problems. They can be avoided but a weak voice will have to sacrifice range and flexibility for volume. Nothing can be lost upstage and certain subtleties must be magnified, making the actor’s job more than to just go out and tell the story. All this said, it truly is a treat to perform at Pendley.

Marlon Gill

Marlon Gill

Marlon Gill – Sea Captain, Merchant of Venice  (2008)

Obviously the need for projection is emphasised to a far greater degree with the outdoor aspect of the production and inclement weather is something that could rear its ugly head at any moment. While both these things are challenges, I wouldn’t say that they “phase” me to any great degree.

Amy Son – Portia, the Merchant of Venice  (2008)

No, most problems usually have a funny side!

If something went wrong during a performance, what would be your worst nightmare scenario?

Douglas Dean – Shylock, The Merchant of Venice  (2008)

During a performance numerous tiny things go “wrong” and go unnoticed by the audience. The problem with Shakespeare is that it’s incredibly difficult to improvise so late entrances by actors, even if only a few seconds, can seem as though they stretch on endlessly. I suppose the worst thing that could happen is an actor forgetting to come on at all! Luckily, that’s never happened in a show that I’ve been involved in; though there have been a few very close shaves. I hope I haven’t spoken too soon; you’d better ask me again after the festival!

Nick Quartley

Nick Quartley

Nick Quartley – Malvolio, Twelfth Night (2008)

Being upstaged by a peacock!

Peter Broad – Sir Toby Belch, Prince of Aragon (2008)

Swallowing a fly – again!

Harry Livingstone

Harry Livingstone

Harry Livingstone – Orsino, Twelfth Night (2008)

My worst nightmare would probably be a big, wild cat, loose on stage, working its way through the cast. Simply disastrous for a production! Every play I do, I seem to have the same dream for about two months before the performance: Opening night. I haven’t learnt the script. I’m in the wings, fiercely turning the pages trying to learn …. I go out, try and make a funny quip about not having learnt them. No Laughter. Refunds wanted. I wake up. I actually had this one last night. Pete Postlethwaite was watching and everything. Look out for the quip in the Fifth Act.

Marlon Gill – Sea Captain, Merchant of Venice (2008)

I suppose given the outdoors and the notorious British weather, my worst case scenario would be being struck by lightening! Let's hope the only thing that strikes me is the rotten fruit brought by the audience!

Amy Son

Amy Son

Amy Son – Portia, the Merchant of Venice (2008)

A delightful child screaming “it’s not really a bloke, it’s that woman from before!” during my tense moments as Portia in the court scene in Merchant. That would probably qualify.

last updated: 29/06/2009 at 16:12
created: 04/07/2008

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