Bard in the Botanics is back for another season with four new spelling-binding productions.
The theatre group returns to Glasgow Botanic Gardens and the Kibble Palace from June 21 - July 29.
And for long-standing artistic director Gordon Barr, the programme marks his 20th year at the helm of the West End summer event.
The 2023 season opens with the first main stage production of Julius Caesar, directed by Jennifer Dick, and Henry IV (a new version adapted from Henry IV Parts 1 & 2) in the Kibble Palace directed by Barr.
The second half of the season sees an expansion of Bard’s exploration of the wider classics with two contrasting plays.
Barr will direct a new main stage production of The Importance of Being Earnest with CATS-nominated actor, Alan Steele, as Lady Bracknell.
Jennifer Dick will make her Bard playwright debut with Jekyll & Hyde, which she will also direct, in the Kibble Palace.
Other returning associate actors in 2023 include Stephanie McGregor who will play Mark Antony in Julius Caesar and the lawyer, Utterson, in Jekyll & Hyde, and Adam Donaldson who takes on the leading roles of Brutus in Julius Caesar and Dr Jekyll in Jekyll & Hyde.
Other Bard regulars featuring this year include Stephen Arden (Jack in The Importance of Being Earnest and Casca in Julius Caesar), Claire Macallister (Cassia in Julius Caesar and Gwendolyn in The Importance of Being Earnest ), Sam Stopford (Prince Hal in Henry IV & Hyde in Jekyll & Hyde), Johnny Panchaud (Hotspur in Henry IV and Dr Chasuble in The Importance of Being Earnest), Eimi Quinn (Portia in Julius Caesar and Cecily in The Importance of Being Earnest)and James Boal (Caesar in Julius Caesar and Algernon in The Importance of Being Earnest).
Barr said: “I’m incredibly excited about this year’s shows – particularly because the work that we do continues to evolve and change.
After Shakespeare, Wilde is probably the writer who loved and celebrated language the most and I can’t wait to get to grips with what I think is one of the funniest scripts ever written with an amazing cast.
“In my twentieth year, to have the opportunity to revisit one of my favourite Shakespeare stories – “Henry IV” – with one of my favourite actors, Alan Steele in the role he was absolutely born to play – Falstaff – is an absolute dream for a director.”
“On top of that, I get to do something I’ve never done before – direct an Oscar Wilde play,” he added.
“After Shakespeare, Wilde is probably the writer who loved and celebrated language the most and I can’t wait to get to grips with what I think is one of the funniest scripts ever written with an amazing cast.
“I’m also thrilled that Julius Caesar – a play that remains, frighteningly, all too topical in today’s world – will make its mainstage debut at Bard in the Botanics this year, and delighted that, after working with playwright Kathy McKean on Medea last year, we get to explore another playwright’s take on a classic tale – and this time a Scottish classic as well.
“Jennifer Dick is well-known to our audiences as a brilliant director but she’s also an amazing playwright and I’m so pleased that audiences will get to experience her version of Jekyll & Hyde – one of the best-loved Victorian tales in the beautiful Victorian surroundings of the Kibble Palace, 150 years after it was first built – it feels like a fitting tribute.
“This year, we have one of the most outstanding ensembles of actors we’ve ever assembled taking on some of Shakespeare’s best plays and also offering our audiences something completely new – I think it’s going to be a very special season indeed.”