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GSC Intends to Conquer Al Fresco as Restrictions Ease

Published on: 2 May, 2021
Updated on: 4 May, 2021

By Alice Fowler

Outdoor theatre, one of the great pleasures of the English summer, is set to make a welcome return to Guildford.

Guildford Shakespeare Company will stage Oliver Goldsmith’s comedy She Stoops to Conquer in the gardens of Guildford Castle from June 17-July 3: the company’s 45th production, which also marks their 15th birthday.

“This moment has been a long-time coming,” says GSC co-founder and producer, Matt Pinches. “We are taking every precaution to ensure our audiences, artists and staff are able to return safely with confidence, to share once again the thrill and magic of live theatre in the open-air.”

Goldsmith’s magnificent Georgian play is one of the best-loved and most-performed English comedies. GSC’s production will transport it to the 1930s, country-house world of Jeeves and Wooster, replete with fearsome aunts, hapless young men, determined debutantes and hilarious misunderstandings.

Ask me no questions, and I’ll tell you no fibs.” Probably the most well-known quote from the play.

The play takes place over the course of a single night, when Marlow, a debonair man-about-town, is led to believe that his future bride’s rural family home (the Hardcastles, whom he has never met), is in fact a country inn. When confronted with the elegant Kate Hardcastle, Marlow’s swagger melts away, and so to conquer his heart and keep up the pretence, the tenacious Kate poses as a barmaid.

Director Tom Littler says: “A year later than planned, I’m over the moon to return to GSC with She Stoops to Conquer. Oliver Goldsmith’s evergreen comedy combines romance, farce, satire and wit. It’s a perfectly constructed play with memorable, larger-than-life characters.”

The production will open 15 months after GSC’s last full-scale show, Macbeth, in February 2020, and almost two years since their last open-air season. Guildford Castle gardens is where the company staged their first production in 2006.

“GSC is a family, albeit a very large one,” says Matt Pinches. “Every artist and audience member are part of our extended family, and like so many of us over the last year, we have missed our family very much.”

In August last year GSC piloted Guildford’s only outdoor event in association with Guildford Borough Council, bringing over 800 people to the town’s Castle Gardens for ‘Thy Eternal Summer’.

During the last twelve months, GSC have continued to stage original shows online, producing nine live productions, seen by over 4000 households worldwide. Together with their ongoing education and outreach work, the theatre company created 145 jobs for freelance artists, and won a number of local awards for their commitment to the community.

In July, the same cast will move to Guildford’s former chalk quarry, Rack’s Close, for Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’.

For further details and booking, see www.guildford-shakespeare-company.co.uk

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