Picnics and plays in the grounds of Lauriston Castle

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TRAVEL back in time to the days of travelling players at Lauriston Castle this weekend when The Three Inch Fools present not one, but two Shakesearean productions in the grounds of the statley home.

Five actors, with all manner of musical instruments and plenty of character-swapping, will present an inventive take on two of Shakespeare’s most renowned plays, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Hamlet.

The first, on Saturday, 14 July, finds The Three Inch Fools, a national touring company acclaimed for their fast-paced and musically driven approach to Shakespeare, starring in the much-loved comic tale of runaway lovers, beguiling potions and an unfortunate individual who gets turned into a donkey…

Audiences will then be invited back the following night to see their production of Hamlet, Shakespeare’s masterpiece of loss and the supernatural, poetry and revenge.

“We want to show Shakespeare off to everyone,’ says co-founder and director James Hyde, “and to excite a whole new generation of Shakespeare lovers to get to know his plays in all their vibrancy.

“Through our own high-paced performance style and musical talents we would say we have found our own unique take on Shakespeare.”

Although almost as different as it is possible for two plays by the same writer to be, the company, which specialises in bringing Shakespeare to life in innovative and unexpected ways, use bold choreography and innovative sound-worlds, in a way certain to delight and surprise those already familiar with the pieces.

Thanks to the input of award-winning composer Stephen Hyde, original music plays a pivotal role in both of these productions, cleverly helping to elevate Shakespeare’s text from the page and to recreate the same dynamic atmosphere that Elizabethan audiences would have experienced when the works were originally performed.

And don’t forget, as with previous outdoor productions in and around the Capital, audiences are invited to arrive early with a picnic to enjoy to add to the festival atmosphere of the evening.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Lauriston Castle, Cramond Road South, Saturday 14 July, 7pm, £14 (£6 children/£35 family)

Hamlet, Lauriston Castle, Cramond Road South, Sunday 15 July, 7pm, £14 (£6 children/£35 family), www.edinburghmuseums.org.uk, 0131-529 3993

Gates open for picnics 6pm. Please note: Lauriston Castle is an outdoor venue, please bring something to sit on and wrap up warm