Alan Ayckbourn’s two interconnecting plays House and Garden, directed by Mark Blackham will be Shaftesbury Arts Centre’s Summer production this year, running from Friday 10 to Saturday 18 July.
The two plays, originally written to be performed simultaneously in two adjoining spaces with the same characters, are played by the same cast, and set in a present day country manor HOUSE and its GARDEN.
In the GARDEN, frenzied preparations are underway for the annual village fête. Just how famous is the beautiful French actress who is opening it? Is there someone sinister lurking in the bushes? And exactly what does go on in the fortune teller’s tent?
In the HOUSE, Teddy has dreams of a bright political future as the new local MP. The only thing barring his path is an urgent need to clean up his private life before the Prime Minister’s special envoy arrives.
At Shaftesbury the plays will run one after the other, on successive days, with Saturday matinees enabling people to see both on the same day. The same cast performs in both plays – their characters remain the same throughout!
The two plays are classic Ayckbourn, funny, poignant, full of accurate observations, and are equally valid on their own or in either order. There is no need to see both, but the audience is encourage to do so because it is only on seeing the second play that the ‘full picture’ is revealed – and that is where the real magic, and Ayckbourn’s talent as a playwright, lies.
To see both plays, come the same time/day each week, or on two successive evenings – with £1 off each ticket if you book for both.
Mark Blackham has most recently directed Art and Educating Rita at Shaftesbury, Five Kinds of Silence, Gillingham Arts Workshop’s semi-finalist entry in the All England Festival of Theatre. His previous Ayckbourn experience includes directing Absent Friends and appearing in Absurd Person Singular. Blog readers will know him as a consummate performer in Milborne Port Opera’s HMS Pinafore and Iolanthe.
The cast of 14 includes Dominic Burd (Nicholas Nickleby, Macbeth, Not About Heroes), Alex Chase (Blackadder, Much Ado About Nothing, Aladdin) , Joni Clowrey (Daisy Pulls it Off, Godspell, Going Going), Stephen McDadd (Art, South Pacific, Carousel, Educating Rita, Run for your Wife) and Janine Rutter (Wait Until Dark, Lark Rise to Candleford).
There are only 4 performances of each play – don’t miss it!
Performance dates and times:
Friday 10 July, 7.30pm – Garden
Saturday 11 July, 2.30pm – Garden
Saturday 11 July, 7.30pm – House
Wednesday 15 July, 7.30pm – House
Thursday 16 July, 7.30pm – Garden
Friday 17 July, 7.30pm – House
Saturday 11 July, 2.30pm – House
Saturday 18 July, 7.30pm – Garden
Shaftesbury Arts Centre
Box Office: 01747 85432 www.shaftesburyartscentre.org.uk