New Yorkshire summer date and palatial home for pop-up Shakespeare theatre

James Cundall CEO of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions (centre) with the full company on stage before for the final Performance of Mid Summer Night Dream at Shakespearse Rose Theatre in York.
James Cundall CEO of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions (centre) with the full company on stage before for the final Performance of Mid Summer Night Dream at Shakespearse Rose Theatre in York.
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All the world's a stage, penned legendary playwright William Shakespeare.

And that famous phrase certainly bore fruit last summer when York hosted Europe's first pop-up Shakespearean theatre last year.

Pop-up theatre in York last summer.

Pop-up theatre in York last summer.

And now following on the success of its inaugural run in the Yorkshire city four of Shakespeare's most loved plays will be heading to the grounds of "Britain's Greatest Palace".

Macbeth, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Richard III and Romeo & Juliet will be performed in the gardens of Blenheim Palace.

The stately home - residence of the Duke of Marlborough - is staging the event in a move to boost the economy of the local area over a nine-week period.

Shakespeare's Rose Theatre will run the Oxfordshire venue simultaneously with its original location, presenting a total of eight plays in the summer.

Read more: My Yorkshire: The man behind the firm which created Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre
Read more: Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre brings the Bard to York
Read more: Rehearsal photographs as Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre opens today in York
The theatre returns to York from June 25 until September 1 with Hamlet, The Tempest, Henry V and Twelfth Night.

Chief executive of the palace Dominic Hare approached Lunchbox Theatrical Productions after going to see their inaugural season in York.

The venue, a 13-sided Elizabethan-style playhouse complete with a period village, will house 900 - with 540 seats and a courtyard for 340 "groundlings".

"This is Shakespeare country, this is an area where local people love their culture, this is a place that's uniquely positioned post-Brexit in a sense of brands," Mr Hare said.

"If you go anywhere in the world - whether it be Asia, China, America, Europe - brands like Oxford, Blenheim Palace, Winston Churchill, Shakespeare, these are the giant brands.

"You could be in a city that nobody knows the name of in China and they'll nod at two of the four I've just said.

"We have this amazing opportunity in the uncertain world in front of us, to draw people to this area by using those brands."

James Cundall, chief executive of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, said: "We're recreating two and creating six so effectively eight shows are being created.

"It's more than any other Shakespearean company is doing in this country this year I believe - there's an excitement in the scale of the project.

"It was refreshing to have the CEO of one of the most gorgeous stately homes probably in the world wanting our product in their backyard."

Damian Cruden, overall artistic director, said of the relevancy of Shakespeare: "He writes brilliantly to the story he wants to tell.

"What would world history be without Shakespeare? If you look at the number of times Shakespeare is quoted in politics, in general life, in other art forms.

"The number of times his work has been turned into operas, used in movies, basis for science fiction, it is so much a part of the world that we now live in.

"The notion that it wouldn't be relevant is almost untenable."

The season at Blenheim Palace will be co-presented by events company Raymond Gubbay Ltd, and will run from July 8 to September 7.