There’s much ado at Fylde coast’s Bard festival

Shakespeare's 'As You Like It' being performed in the grounds of Lytham Hall by Illyria Theatre Company.
Shakespeare's 'As You Like It' being performed in the grounds of Lytham Hall by Illyria Theatre Company.

All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players.

That might be so Mr William Shakespeare, but it applies to Blackpool rather more than anywhere else over the next few days.

The Fylde Coast Shakespeare Festival kicks off today, to coincide with the famous playwright’s 450th birthday and to celebrate his life and works.

The brainchild of councillor David Owen, deputy mayor of Blackpool, the festival will see people from Lytham to Fleetwood perform Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets.

With a programme of events from puppet performances to workshops, to orchestral arrangements ­courtesy of Blackpool Symphony Orchestra, the festival is set to be one 
of the biggest events of 

Celebrations will be taking place in a variety of venues across the town from today until Saturday.

“I’m very pleased with the response we’ve had, and the programme we have in place,” said Coun Owen.

“There are a large number of organisations taking part at 
locations up and down the Fylde coast.

“It is a wonderful chance 
for people to learn more 
about Shakespeare, to celebrate his work and to have some fun with friends and colleagues.

“I hope people will go along to watch some of the performances and really get into the spirit of things.

“It will not only raise awareness of the work of Shakespeare, but bring the community together.”

The festival has attracted a range of volunteers both young and old from across the Fylde coast, including the staff of Sainsbury’s Blackpool, who will be performing their rendition of tragic love story Pyramus and Thisbe, 
from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Schools from across the area are also getting involved.

Blackpool Sixth Form College, Highfield Humanities College, Our Lady of the Assumption Primary School, Millfield Science and Performing Arts College and Hodgson Academy in Wyre all confirmed to participate.

Dates, times, places and all the key events where you can witness works by Shakespeare

April 23-­25

Workshops at Hodgson Academy.

Hodgson Academy will be delivering a series of workshops aimed at KS3 students in order to raise awareness of Shakespeare and his influence on English literature. They will be performing their version of Macbeth.

April 24 and 25, 1.30pm

A Midsummer Night’s Dream/The Tempest/Macbeth (Free Public Event).

The Ormerod Trust Drama Groups at

St Paul’s Church Hall, Fleetwood.

The Ormerod Trust has supported people with learning disabilities in St Annes for more than 40 years.

Made up of people with diverse learning 
disabilities, the drama group have 
produced 10 Romeo And Juliet Workshops productions since 2008

April 23­-25

Romeo and Juliet Workshops at Highfield School.

Groups from Year 7 will be studying Romeo and Juliet and performing it as a play. The activity will take place in school.

April 23 ,11am to noon

An Adaptation Of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Free Public Event).

Cleveleys Writers and the Wordsmiths at

Cleveleys Park Club.

Formed in 1999 “Cleveleys Writers – Writers for Charity” are a group of writers of all abilities, who meet regularly, and their sub­group “Wordsmiths with a Song” perform at local care homes, Trinity Hospice and for local community groups.

April 23 (all day)

Shakespeare Day (Free Public Event).

Dance, Drama and English Students from Blackpool 6th Form College.

With a mid-morning viewing of Much Ado About Nothing, followed by a Shakespeare inspired lunch at the canteen, Blackpool Sixth Form College is embracing the festivities.

A lecturer from Chester University will be discussing how Shakespeare remains relevant in modern arts and culture, and dance students will perform a dance interpretation of the feud between the Capulets and the Montagues in the afternoon.

April 23, 2pm to 4pm

A Reading and Discussion Of Shakespeare’s Sonnets (Free Public Event) by Grand Theatre Play Reading Group at Lawrence House Studio, Grand Theatre.

Founded in 2008 the Grand Theatre Play Reading Group meets monthly to read a wide variety of plays. They will be reading a selection of Shakespeare’s sonnets and encourage discussion of these with the audience

April 23, 6.30pm to 8.30pm

The Merchant of Venice (Free Public Event).

Lawrence House Studio, Grand Theatre.

Get Started – a group of local small business entrepreneurs and members of the economic development team are performing a selection of scenes from the Merchant of Venice

April 23, 6pm to 8pm

Richard III (Free Public Event).

Blackpool Council members at Blackpool 
Council Chamber, Blackpool Town Hall.

The members of Blackpool Council will be 
performing Richard III beneath the painting of the King’s last charge at Boswell Hill.

April 24, 4pm

Shakespeare performance (Free Public Event).

1623 Theatre Company at The Comedy Carpet.

The 1623 Theatre Company will be leading workshops in Blackpool Schools, as well as staging a performance on Blackpool’s Comedy Carpet in front of Blackpool Tower.

April 24, 10am

The Taming Of The Shrew (Free Public Event)

Year 3 Our Lady of the Assumption RC Primary School

Central Library

Pupils from Year 3 are making a short film and a display of work as part of a Shakespeare inspired school project. The display will be on a show at Central Library, with a performance of a scene from The Taming of the Shrew thrown in for good measure

April 24

Pyramus And Thisbe Adaptation From A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Sainsburys Blackpool (The Shakesburys)

St John’s C of E Primary School

The new management team at Sainsburys Blackpool will be performing their rendition of Pyramus and Thisbe from a Midsummer Night’s Dream as part of a school activity at St John’s C of E Primary School

April 24,­ 3pm

Romeo And Juliet Director’s Masterclass & Performance Of Key Scenes (Free Public Event)

Millfield Science and Performing Arts College

Thornton Library

Year 9 GCSE Drama students will be working on a Romeo and Juliet themed Master class at Thornton Library. Covering topics such as ‘How to Direct a Scene from Shakespeare’, the groups will select, develop and perform a scene of their choosing from the play

April 24, 6pm to 7pm

‘Open Mic’ Readings And Shakespeare Sonnets (Free Public Event),

Windmill Players at Thornton Library.

The award winning amateur dramatics society formed in 1946 will be performing various Shakespearean sonnets in an ‘open mic’ format.

Three productions are made each year and from their proceeds they make a donation to a charity of the director’s choice.

April 25, 11am

Hamlet (Free Public Event).

Claremont Park Community Centre.

Shrine of Our Lady of Lourds.

The Claremont Park Community Centre will be performing Hamlet

April 25, 1.30pm to 3.30pm

Henry IV Part 1 (Free Public Event).

Blackpool Civic Trust at FYCreatives.

Blackpool Civic Trust passes comment on planning applications related to Listed Buildings and any other developments in the two conservation areas. 
They meet monthly with guest speakers, and will be giving a free public reading of Henry IV Part 1.

April 25, 1.30pm to ­4pm

Salute to Shakespeare (Free Public Event).

Live Poets & Poetry People at Blackpool Central Library.

Established in 2003, and meeting monthly ever since, Live Poets & Poetry People will be performing Shakespearean songs, sonnets, sketches and soliloquies at the Central Library on Queen Street.

April 25, 3pm to 4pm

Macbeth Whoosh at South Shore Academy

Performing the Taming of the Shrew in Jeremy Kyle style and condensing Macbeth in less 
than 30 minutes, South Shore Academy are embracing the world of Shakespeare.

April 25, 5.30pm to 6.30pm

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Contemporary Dance And Song Performance (Free Event).

Fylde Coast Youth Dance Company & Revoe­lution Choir at Blackpool Tower Circus.

Fylde Coast Youth Dance Company consists of 19 dancers aged 11 to 19 from across Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde. Inspired by the Northern Ballet’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Fylde Coast Youth Dance Company will perform their own version.

Collaborating with the dance company are Revoe­lution choir, Blackpool’s number one community choir.

April 25, 7pm to ­9pm

Shakespeare Slam (Free Public Event).

Lancs Dead Good Poets’ Society at Claremont Park Community Centre.

Consisting of poets’ from across the Fylde coast, Lancashire Dead Good Poets’ Society have in their midst award winning performance poets, acclaimed story tellers and published authors to name a few.

April 26, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm

Comedy Of Errors – Puppetry Performance (Free Public Event).

Strung Out Theatre at the Grundy Art Gallery.

Strung Out Theatre Company, a newly established puppet company based in Blackpool have the aim of making exciting visual theatre for children and adults alike. They constantly experiment with storytelling techniques.

April 30, 7pm

Shakespeare’s Feast (Public Event).

Winter Gardens Trust at Baronial Hall, Winter Gardens

The Winter Gardens Trust are hosting a Tudor Banquet to celebrate the 450 Bard.

The best dressed will win prizes. Tickets are £22. Call (01253) 318948 to book, or email

June 22, 7.30pm

Best of the Bard (Public Event).

Blackpool Symphony Orchestra at St Paul’s Church, Marton.

Boasting more than 30 players, the Symphony Orchestra will be performing the “Best of the Bard”, including music from composers Bernstein and Tchaikovsky. This is a ticketed event, available at