In July, rehearsals begin for Red Rose Chain’s most ambitious summer season yet, as the company celebrates the 20th anniversary of its open-air spectacular – Theatre in the Forest with their fresh take on Romeo & Juliet.
Starting out in 1999 as a one-night event held in the depths of Rendlesham forest, Theatre in the Forest has exploded into the region’s largest outdoor theatre event, beloved by tens of thousands of audience members and regarded by The Stage as ‘Regents Park for the East’.
Every summer, families, fans and first-timers all venture together into the event’s woodland home at Jimmy’s Farm to experience Shakespeare as they’ve never seen it before – thanks to the vision of Artistic Director Joanna Carrick who specialises in making the magic of Shakespeare accessible and fun for all-ages while staying true to the original text.
Joanna plans to make this summer the biggest and best yet, adding:“At a time when our young people are starting to make their voices heard about climate change and injustice, this play – which challenges the wisdom of our elders and promotes peace and tolerance between warring factions is extremely apt and appropriate. Whether you are new to the story or have seen it many times, there are always great truths in this play as well as passion, hilarity tragedy and love. Our extraordinary cast are going to take the show by storm with a back drop of 1960’s mods and rockers rebels. I can’t wait!”
On the 24th August, the final Saturday of the run, the company are also throwing a big birthday bash before the show begins to celebrate with all the audience members. Free to ticket holders, the party includes birthday cake and lemonade for everybody, plus all the musical hits of the 1960s and the chance to come dressed up as a Mighty Mod (from House Montague) or a Raucous Rocker (from House Capulet).
The location of Jimmy’s Farm offers audience members the chance to explore the wildlife park during the day, and eat in the award-winning restaurant on the evenings pre-theatre dinners are available, or dine al fresco and bring your own picnic (and camping chairs) for that extra festival feel.
When they’re not putting their stamp on Shakespeare, Red Rose Chain have an exciting programme of events and community work going on all year round inside their studio theatre venue, The Avenue, located just a few minutes’ walk from Ipswich train station. The Avenue is quickly becoming a hot-spot comedy and live music venue for the town, giving Suffolk audiences the chance to see big names like Henning Wehn and Mark Thomas in a much more intimate and cosy space.
Whatever your plans this summer, make Theatre in the Forest your must-see holiday adventure this July/August. There has never been a better time to discover what all the fuss is about!
Romeo & Juliet runs at Jimmy’s Farm from 31st July to 25th August.
For more details and to book visit: redrosechain.com/theatre-in-the-forest, or give Red Rose Chain’s friendly box office team a call on 01473 603388