Final preparations are now underway for the Summer Nights Festival. On Tuesday the venue will be constructed and we can rehearse in the space. The weather looks good (fingers crossed) and props and costumes are being discussed and collated.
This year we are performing in a pop up theatre. Which does what it says on the tin, pops up for a few weeks and then disappears. This one is themed as a mini Globe theatre, like Shakespeare’s famous venue in London. It has to be versatile. There are two very different shows using the space. There are entrances and exits for the actors but the whole space is used as a performance arena. There are benches for audience members and you are are invited to bring cushions (some bring folding chairs). You enter through a main gate, SHP stewards check tickets just like they would for any event and once all the audience are in the show begins.
Over the years I’ve been involved with many out door productions at South Hill Park. Favourite moments include characters hiding in bushes for House and Garden, Romeo and Juliet performing in a candle lit maze, a hundred fairies singing Queen snippets in a rock version of The Dream and of course the cued fountain to recreate the famous whale Moby Dick for the 40th birthday party.
What is it that makes us Brits do these things? I think we must all get over excited by the sun! If you spend some time at South Hill Park over the summer you will understand why. It is a brilliant, creative place. Families can enjoy quality activities at reasonable prices, you can see events that make you laugh, think and cry (sometimes all at once!). You can enjoy the beautiful grounds and you can talk with like minded people. If you are new to the area or you’ve never been to the art centre before make this summer the first of many! Check out the brochure for more information on the Summer Nights festival. The shows are called “History of Everything (almost)” and “Bums on Seats” both are absolutely hilarious. See you there!
Bart Lee Director Summer Nights