Newbury’s The Watermill Theatre has announced a new season of outdoor performances for this summer.
The season will welcome audiences back to the venue from 21 May with the season running to 4 September.
Here’s what the new season has to offer:
The Hound Of The Baskervilles (21 May – 19 June)
The first show opening on 21 May on the front lawn is the return of the critically acclaimed comedy version of Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic Sherlock Holmes tale, The Hound Of The Baskervilles . A trio of actors bring this production to life, devised by the company and directed by Abigail Pickard Price.
As You Like It (24 June – 24 July)
The Watermill Ensemble’s brand-new sustainability focussed production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It, adapted by Yolanda Mercy and directed by Paul Hart, with a cast of twelve actor-musicians and an atmospheric modern folk soundscape, inspired by the music of Mumford & Sons, Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver and Taylor Swift.
Using responsibly sourced, repurposed, or recyclable materials to create the set, props and costumes, this production of Shakespeare’s famous pastoral comedy will celebrate the unique environment of The Watermill gardens. With a focus on eco-friendly practices both on and off stage, this season marks a new direction for the venue in terms of sustainability and access for future generations.
Just So (30 July – 4 September)
The third production will be a new semi-staged concert version of Stiles & Drewe’s Just So. This wondrous family musical blends five of Rudyard Kipling’s Just So stories to tell a tale of courage, friendship and the power of an individual to make a difference. Directed by Abigail Pickard Price with Tarek Merchant as the Musial Director.
Tickets will go on general sale from 11 May and Friends Of The Watermill from 6 May. Book online from watermill.org.uk.
Tickets will be sold in socially distanced tables seating 2, 4 or 6 people in the idyllic setting of The Watermill’s glorious gardens with a limited number of individual seats also available. Young people aged 18 – 30 years will be able to access a limited number of discounted solo tickets priced at £15 for each show.
Artistic Director Paul Hart said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to announce another joyous summer season after the sell-out success of last year. Audiences absolutely loved our production of ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ which was devised in the midst of the pandemic. I was struck by the idea of a group of individuals trying to solve a murder whilst observing social distancing measures(!) and we’re delighted to bring back the production for a very limited run.
“The rest of the season integrates themes of the environment and sustainability, an issue we’re really passionate about, not least because of our stunning location which backs onto a nature reserve in the heart of the Berkshire countryside.
“Our Shakespeare ensemble return with a radical new version of ‘As You Like It’ which focuses on the importance of connecting with nature and as ever, will be filled with glorious music performed live by our cast. After this we’ll be presenting a very special concert performance of our summer musical, ‘Just So’. The show began its life at The Watermill to great acclaim in 1989. It feels like a perfect moment to celebrate this uplifting musical and to bring it to life once again, this time in our beautiful gardens!
“I couldn’t be more excited to welcome back audiences and to be creating brilliant theatre again.”
To help The Watermill rebuild its artistic programme and resume its important outreach and education activities on-site, the theatre has also launched ACT 2 – a new fundraising appeal. The ACT 2 appeal invites supporters to help The Watermill Celebrate Theatre, Inspire Creativity and Connect Communities. For further information please visit watermill.org.uk/ACT2
Hart added: “The past year has undoubtedly been a challenging time for us, but the generosity of our community has truly blown us away. Buoyed by your encouragement we are delighted to be reopening, and hope that you feel able to continue to support our mission to uplift and inspire people through great theatre.”