‘Shakespeare always seems to have something to say to us’ – Nelson Mandela
Shakespeare in the Squares is a new, not-for-profit touring theatre company that will stage a Shakespeare play in London garden squares for one night in each venue every summer. The productions are tailored to the individual garden squares, and we work with the garden 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 will be 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 has worked in publishing for over 30 years. He worked for Macmillan in Australia, Africa and London and then became Managing Director and Chief Executive of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers in 1993. He continues to work for the Hachette Publishing Group as a consultant and also runs his own coaching, training and mentoring company. He is 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.
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.”