Classic comedy brings laughter to Southwold's newly-built outdoor theatre

Kate Hardcastle (Pippa Meekings) stooping to conquer her prospective beau Charles Marlow

Kate Hardcastle (Pippa Meekings) stooping to conquer her prospective beau Charles Marlow (Rob Keeves) in the classic comedy She Stoops To Conquer - Credit: Rain and Shine Theatre Co

Lockdown has been cruel for theatre-makers and audiences alike and as theatres reopen, outdoor theatre is starting to thrive.

There is something special about watching theatre under the stars and Rain or Shine Theatre Company are coming to the outdoor Thorington Theatre near Southwold to present their production of Oliver Goldsmith’s timeless classic comedy She Stoops to Conquer.

Producer Jayne Meekings says that entertainment is needed now more than ever.

“Live theatre is back this summer – come ‘Rain or Shine’,” she laughs. “After a horrible year for the entertainment industry, we will soon be able to make audiences smile again.”

Mr and Mrs Hardcastle in the classic comedy She Stoops To Conquer

Mr and Mrs Hardcastle (Anthony Young and Kim Baker) in the classic comedy She Stoops To Conquer which is at the Thorington Theatre near Southwold on June 27 - Credit: Rain or Shine Theatre Co

“The theatre industry has arguably been one of the most impacted sectors during the pandemic, with venues closed since March 2020.

"Rain or Shine are at last set to delight family audiences once again this summer with our production of Oliver Goldsmith’s classic comedy She Stoops to Conquer, an 18th Century farce for all the family.”

She said that because the production is outdoors audiences will face fewer social distancing restrictions. Audiences are requested to bring along cushions and rugs, and a picnic to maximise their enjoyment of the al fresco performances.

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Set against the increasingly chaotic proceedings of one very long night, She Stoops to Conquer is a delightful romantic romp filled with ludicrous misunderstanding, mischief and mayhem. 

“A reserved lover, it is said, always makes a suspicious husband,” says Jayne. “In the play, Kate Hardcastle is a young lady fixed up to meet the eligible Marlow with a view to marriage.

"Marlow is a young gent who is tongue-tied with the upper classes and downright lecherous with commoners. So when Marlow is tricked into believing Kate's ancestral home is a country inn, and mistakes Kate for a lowly barmaid what could possibly go wrong? Plenty! 

“So pack your picnic, rugs and chairs, pop open some bubbly and sit back and relax in the summer sunshine, while they whisk you away to the time of big wigs, and even bigger dresses; where fops and foolery abound.”

Suitable for audiences from age six to 96, Rain or Shine aim to bring classical theatre into the heart of local communities as they travel across the country. This includes a performance at the newly built open air theatre in the forest - Thorington Theatre, Southwold on Sunday June 27 at 6pm. 

Tickets are available from Thorington Theatre, online or by phoning  0330 660 0541. 

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