Saturday, 12 June 2021

Actress reveals merciful side in leading role

A THEATRE group which started life in a Beaconsfield back garden is to stage its sixth open-air Shakespeare play at Stubbings House this June, writes Lesley Potter.

The Garden Players set up in 2008 as a group of theatrical friends who wanted to put on a Shakespeare play to raise money for charity. Six years on, they have raised a total of £48,000 — exceeding all their expectations. This year, they will stage The Merchant of Venice in the grounds of the country mansion near Maidenhead. And in a new development, the audience will be able to watch from the comfort of a weather-proof awning.

Henley thespian Grainne Harling will take the leading female role as Portia, while her husband Tom will play her lovelorn suitor, Bassanio.

Founding member Steve McAdam, who plays Antonio, explained how the group came about.

He said: “An old friend of mine John Timewell had been saying for a long time that our garden in Beaconsfield would be ideal for Shakespeare. It backs on to a wood that is owned by one of the Bee Gees — though I have never seen him. We finally got round to the idea and in 2009 we did three performances of Much Ado About Nothing. We aimed to make £2,000 and to our astonishment we sold out within a month and made £7,000.

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