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Kedleston Hall: All the magic of theatre in the great outdoors

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: August 20, 2014

Pantaloons Theatre Company, who are performing The Tempest at Kedleston Hall.

Pantaloons Theatre Company, who are performing The Tempest at Kedleston Hall.

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OUTDOOR performances tend to have a totally different atmosphere to shows staged in a traditional indoor theatre setting.

Without the constraints of formal tiered seating, a new world of rugs, picnics and social gatherings opens up and, for those who have not managed to catch an open-air show yet, there's a great performance at Kedleston Hall tomorrow.

The hall provides the perfect setting for a very accessible production of The Tempest, staged by the Pantaloons Theatre Company from 7pm.

The Pantaloons have put their own unique, and hilarious, twist on Shakespeare's tale of shipwrecks, sorcerers and silly servants.

Their take frames the action within the setting of an old-fashioned travelling magic show and uses music, movement, poetry and puppetry to create Prospero's world of illusions.

"Shakespeare suggests that theatre itself is a kind of conjuring, summoning up whole imaginary worlds from just the shared creative efforts of actors and audience," says director Stephen Purcell. "So, in our production, the cast create all the magical effects live onstage – sometimes with the help of the audience."

The Tempest is also a play about other kinds of transformation: from tears to laughter, from cruelty to forgiveness, from enslavement to freedom.

"The play changes tone very suddenly throughout and we hope our production reflects that," says Purcell. "Ultimately, it's a play about the power, potential, and sheer joy of the human imagination, and that's what the Pantaloons are all about!"

The company sees its work as post-modern folk theatre, taking well-loved tales and giving them a contemporary twist to make them accessible.

Gates open at 5.30pm for a 7pm start. Admission is £12.50 (children £8). A family ticket is £35. Booking is essential – call 0844 2491895.

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