The 16th Annual Shakespeare in Gloucester Festival

Customer feedback is helping drive changes to the Shakespeare in Gloucester Festival, now in its 16th year, and tickets are selling fast.

Guests dressed up for the Shakespeare in Gloucester Festival

Guests dressed up for the Shakespeare in Gloucester Festival

This annual cultural event to be held in May is a major item on the Gloucester events calendar and is the longest running festival of Shakespeare in NSW.

Newcastle’s Stooged Theatre Company returns to Gloucester for the first time since 2010 and will be presenting the classic Merchant of Venice. Stooged Theatre has won several CONDA Awards and committee chairperson Maureen Hjorth is thrilled about their return. “They’re a very capable and experienced ensemble and director Carl Young will not fail to impress” said Maureen.

The popular dinner theatre format is being retained, with the Friday evening supper performance including a ploughman’s platter while the Saturday evening dinner performance features a brand new menu provided by Roadies Cafe. The fully licensed bar in the Soldiers Club will again showcase some local and regional wines and theatre-goers are encouraged to wear Elizabethan fancy dress for the chance to win prizes on the night.

The performances by the GACCI Players will again offer some rollicking good fun with the hilarious spoof Canned Hamlet. And more serious fans of Shakespeare will be pleased that the illustrious Bell Shakespeare Theatre Company will again offer their popular workshop-style sessions.

Customer feedback about the Elizabethan Faire has been well considered and improvements have been made to the layout and inclusions. On Saturday May 10 Billabong Park becomes a bustling medieval village green, with new artisan stallholders and more food selections too.

Entertainment includes wandering minstrels, street performers, palm reading, archery, kids’ games, face painting, hair braiding and a jumping castle that looks like a real castle. The jouster knights from the Barony of Mordenvale will do battle again plus you can enjoy the Olde English dancing traditions from the Albion Fair Morris Dancing troupe, who are new for 2014. The fancy dress competition is now for primary school-aged children and there are fun prizes to win for the Best-dressed Knight and Best-dressed Princess.

Show tickets can be purchased at the Festival website or the Visitor Information Centre.

The 16th Annual Shakespeare in Gloucester Festival, May 8-10, 2014.

The Merchant of Venice - Friday with supper $52; Saturday matinee $35; Saturday with dinner $67; Canned Hamlet - Thursday and Saturday $5; Bell Shakespeare Workshops - Friday and Saturday $15