‘Shakespeare always seems to have something to say to us’ – Nelson Mandela
Shakespeare in the Squares is a not-for-profit touring theatre company that stages a Shakespeare play in London garden squares for one night in each venue every summer. The productions are tailored to the individual venues, and we work with the committees and other local organisations to create a unique community celebration around the play.
Our aim is to provide a showcase for talented young theatre practitioners and we intend to introduce our audiences to the stars of the future. We pay the actors Equity recommended rates and the productions are innovative, exciting and of the highest professional standard. Productions are funded through a combination of ticket sales, grants and sponsorship from local businesses and organisations.
Sue Fletcher had a forty-year career in book publishing, including as co-founder of Headline and Deputy MD of Hodder & Stoughton. She has an MA in Theatre and Performance from Queen Mary, University of London, and in 2011 was one of the judges for the Olivier Awards. She goes to the theatre three or four times a week and remains captivated by the magic of live performance.
Martin Neild worked in publishing for over thirty years. He worked for Macmillan in Australia,Africa and London and became Chief Executive of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers in 1993. He is Co-Chair of the Oxford School of Drama, Chair of the Chipping Norton Literary Festival and a trustee of the Michael Cuddigan Trust which gives grants to young composers. He, too, is a regular and passionate theatregoer.
What time does the show start?
We must start at 7pm promptly as we need to be finished by 9.30pm in order to perform during daylight. In some cases, shows will start at midday or 5pm. Please see Venues & Tickets for further details.
Is there an interval?
There is a 15-minute interval, but we can’t extend that or we lose the light, so picnics etc will be more leisurely if taken beforehand.
Is seating provided?
Yes, but it is unreserved, so get there early if you want a specific place, or are trying to seat several people together.
Is there catering on site?
It varies from square to square, but details will be sent out approximately one week ahead of the performance.
Are there lavatories on site?
Again, it varies from square to square.
Is the performance amplified?
No, audience feedback is consistently in favour of as little technical intervention as possible. The cast is very aware of the need to be audible, but we are at the mercy of ambient sound, such as traffic noise and police sirens. Sometimes wildlife adds to the atmosphere!
What happens if it rains?
It is our firm intention that the show goes on in light to moderate rain. In the event of such severe weather that there would be a risk to the cast, we may have local wet-weather options on standby, but these would be a last resort.
What if I can no longer attend?
Tickets are non-refundable but may be transferred to another person or another venue up to 36 hours before the original performance start time providing that the new venue is not sold out.
CONDITIONS OF SALE
- Customers displaying disruptive, aggressive and/or anti-social behaviour within the venue will be asked to leave.
- Pushchairs, prams or carry chairs are not permitted in the auditorium as they may block evacuation routes. Our staff will assist you in storing these items free of charge and at your own risk.
- Please arrive in good time as performances will commence promptly. Latecomers may not be permitted until a suitable break in the performance.
- Smoking and E-cigarettes are not permitted anywhere in the venue.
- Changes to programme, show timings, cast, seating and pricing are at the discretion of the management.
Covid-19 Refund & Re-schedule policy
Standard terms and conditions apply. In the case that a performance is cancelled or postponed by us you will be able to receive either an exchange, credit or refund. Where a show has been or is rescheduled we will deem you to have accepted tickets for the rescheduled date if we have not heard from you to the contrary 48hrs prior to the performance going ahead. After this point our standard terms and conditions, agreed to at the point of sale, will apply.
The Tempest (2022)
2022’s production was The Tempest, Shakespeare’s island romance of magic and music, all with a Bossa-Nova heartbeat. Over 5,000 tickets were sold across 21 performances.
“Make like Dame Judi Dench and snatch tickets” ES Magazine
“A London institution” Time Out
“A cheerful, bossa-nova infused production performed by an engaging cast of actor-musicians. Fun and accessible” The Stage
A Midsummer Night's Dream (2019)
In 2019 the production was A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Nearly 6,000 tickets were sold over 22 performances across 19 venues.
Theatre Weekly said it was “sparkly, intelligent and laugh-out-loud hilarious”, Broadway World said it was “charming and quaint, a joyous display of love, magic and Shakespeare’s gorgeous language”, and it was “highly recommended for the whole family, outdoor theatre lovers and of course Shakespeare fans” by Pocket-Sized Theatre.
As You Like It (2018)
2018’s production was As You Like It. The production was set in the late 60s/early 70s with the joyful bucolic atmosphere of a rural music festival. Nearly 5,000 tickets were sold over 18 performances and audiences and critics loved it.
The Stage said:
“Laid-back and bubbly, making the most of the play’s comedy, Shakespeare in the Squares have Forests of Arden well and truly sorted, having selected some of London’s most beautiful squares and gardens to perform in. And with a friendly cast who softly tease the audience’s children, it’s warm-hearted without being too cutesy.”
Romeo & Juliet (2017)
In Summer 2017, we performed Romeo and Juliet in 14 stunning squares and gardens with audiences of between 200-300 every night. Time Out described the production as having “a fun vibe and clear unpretentious storytelling.” The Stage gave us four stars: “delightful open air Shakespeare. Realistic fights and exuberant music.”