Local actors Finlay Langelaan and Georgia Chapple will take the stage as the star-crossed titular lovers in Nelson Summer Shakespeare’s production of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ later this month. Photo: Supplied.

Summer Shakespeare returns with Romeo and Juliet

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One of the Bard’s greatest love stories will be making its way to the Tasman region this summer, with history’s greatest star-crossed lovers set to take the stage.

Nelson Summer Shakespeare is returning next week, touring venues across the Nelson region with its production of ‘Romeo and Juliet’.

Director Giles Burton says the 2018 production of ‘Twelfth Night’ was a significant success, attracting more than 2200 people over 14 performances across four locations.

“It attracted an incredibly diverse audience and delivered a fun, family outing, and for most, their first foray into Shakespeare’s rich library of works.”

Building upon the strengths of previous Summer Shakespeare seasons, Giles says he has built a strong and professional ensemble which will offer everything from humour and heartbreak to swordfights, which are sure to delight audiences.

With a 6pm start, the outdoor performances operate on a ‘pay what you decide’ scheme, where audience members can pay what they think the performance was worth.

“The intention is to create  a simple, yet magical event where families can experience high quality arts performed by trained and experienced Shakespearean actors without the worry of excessive expense,” says Giles.

Like previous years, the performances will be hosted in outdoor spaces, including Fairfield House in Nelson, Isel Park in Stoke, Washbourn Gardens in Richmond and Riverside Community Oval in Lower Moutere.

“As well as adding to the region’s summer events for locals, it also provides access to affordable, professional arts for the large number of visitors who come to the region during January.”

Along with the fresh take on some of the more traditional gender roles of the play, Giles says the intention for the 2020 production is to build on previous years by adding two new venues in the form of Isel Park and the Theatre Royal.

“This will engage more people, more families, more Shakespeare education, and more accessibility for our communities to high quality professional theatre.”

The young lovers are played by actors Finlay Langelaan and Georgia Chapple, both ex-Garin College students.

They have both returned to the region to be part of presenting professional theatre in outdoor spaces in the region.

Giles says audiences are encouraged to make a night of it and take a picnic and enjoy a professional rendition of one of the Shakespeare’s greatest tales. Romeo and Juliet is on at Fairfield House, Nelson from 6pm on January 16 – 19 and 21 -24, before moving to Riverside for January 25 and 26.

Then Richmond will play host to the performance on the 29 and 30th, before two performances in Isel Park on January 31 and February 1.

A special seated performance will also be staged at Nelson’s Theatre Royal on Sunday 2 February