Theatre group celebrates 60 years of Shakespeare in the courtyard

SaTG director Dean Laccohee

SaTG director Dean Laccohee - Credit: Archant

Since 1959, Shakespeare at The George (SaTG) has entertained tens of thousands of people with its acclaimed open-air productions of Shakespeare’s plays, held in the atmospheric and evocative courtyard of The George Hotel in Huntingdon.

This year it is marking its 60th anniversary with a series of events throughout Huntingdon and the surrounding area.

Along with the group's regular summer production, which is selling our faster than ever this year, the celebrations have included a specially commissioned play, as part of The Bridge Arts Festival, which was written by SaTG actor and director Lynne Livingstone.

The one act play, called Shakespearean is based on all the popular plot devices used throughout Shakespeare's plays, was formed from lines from all 37 plays.

SaTG also commissioned Huntingdon-based master lego builder, Mike Addis, to create a scale model of The George Hotel - complete with a sell-out crowd of Lego figurines watching the group perform one of its open-air Shakespeare plays in the courtyard.

Measuring 6 foot x 4 foot x 3 foot, the finished masterpiece took Mike two months to build and used approximately 250,000 individual Lego bricks, including 200-plus Lego figurines to represent the audience, cast and crew.

This will stay at The George until the end of our summer production.

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A book, written by three of SaTG archivists, is due to be launched at the end of this month, celebrating 60 years of Shakespeare at The George, with details of how things began and looking at all the plays that have been performed since 1959.

"We will be entering Shakespearean into the Cambridge Drama Festival in September," said the group's publicity officer, Simon Mayor.

"We have just won the (National Operatic and Dramatic Association) NODA Award for the Eastern Region - District 1 - for converting the courtyard of The George Hotel into an outdoor theatre space. And we still have our summer production, which also celebrates our history in a unique way.

We are a registered charity, whose remit is to encourage and promote theatre and the arts in the local community, and we would like to thank the local community for its support over the last 60 years.

"Director Dean Laccohee first performed for Shakespeare at The George in our 30th anniversary year production of A Midsummer Night's Dream in 1989, playing the part of Flute.

Dean returns this year to direct A Midsummer Night's Dream as director.

There will be a Stagetext Captioned performance for the hard of hearing on July 2.

"We were delighted to welcome Dame Evelyn Glennie along to this night last year for Richard III and she is coming back this year having thoroughly enjoyed the production last year.

And we are still honoured to have the support from Dame Norma Major as our patron, who supports us in everything that we do," said Simon.