On Saturday 4th August 2018, the Arches Theatre held its inaugural performance of 'As You Like It' by William Shakespeare. The Wet Mariners entertained and amused the crowd and even got some local geese involved ...
It's been a hard slog getting the Arches Theatre ready for its first night. We've spent most of this year clearing it out, cleaning it up, putting down a hard surface, and fencing it off to keep the horses out.
"But it was totally worth it"
But on a beautiful summers evening, the great and the good parked in one of our fields in Clifton Reynes and carried everything they needed for an evenings entertainment down to the venue. We asked everyone to bring their own camping chairs and the performers had marked out how they wanted the audience to arrange themselves.
With the sun slowly approaching the horizon, and after all the picnics had finished, the lights went up and I introduced some very talented young Shakespearean actors and let them open the show.
Within minutes, they had the crowd laughing, and with a lot of audience participation and even a cameo from the local geese flying over, we all enjoyed a couple of hours of classic humour courtesy of the Bard.
"It was a fabulous performance of this classic play"
By the time everyone left, it was completely dark, so we turned the lighting rig around to help them find their way to the carpark and then it was time to pack up the bar and the lighting and make the venue secure. I was there until late into the night, as were a number of volunteers.
So, thank you to the Wet Mariners, thank you to everyone who came along and made it a night to remember and thank you to everyone who helped to create the Arches Theatre and volunteered their time on the night itself.
We'll be putting on more shows as and when possible, and we're offering out the Arches Theatre and the wider field around it for corporate away days and any other events that are suitable for the location.
"Would you like to know more?"
If you'd like to make a booking or explore your own ideas for the Arches Theatre, then do give me a call on 01234 241357 or click here to ping me an email and let's see what we can do.
David is the owner and Artistic Director of The Arches Theatre in Clifton Reynes near Milton Keynes. Productions are underneath some flood arches on the disused Midland railway line (Bedford to Northampton). It is equidistant from Bedford, Northampton and Milton Keynes. You bring your food, drink and chairs and enjoy the varied shows that are produced. This year - 2022 - there are 12 productions on throughout the season, from Shakespeare to Ripping Yarns plus a music weekend.
David has been involved in 'Light Ent' for many years, working with Ray Galton and Alan Simpson adapting the scripts of 'Steptoe and Son' and those of Tony Hancock to the stage. He has produced shows for Norman Wisdom (which makes him feel old), Al Murray, and Joe Pasquale amongst others, and also worked in the music business promoting and producing shows with Chas and Dave, Neil Inness, Kenny Ball, Acker Bilk and others of that ilk.
He is also the director of a film school for young people in his home town of Olney as well as supporting many local events.
He recently negotiated permission from Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais to stage a short run of 'Porridge' on stage which proved a success.
This year the annual charity performance at The Arches Theatre will be the last of 'Ripping Yarns' by Michael Palin and Terry Jones, with the profits being donated to The National Brain Appeal' for research into dementia as David's father and uncle died of it, as did Michael Palin's friend and writing partner Terry Jones. Last year they raised an astonishing Ã‚Â£10,000 and are hoping to get somewhere close again with the support of audiences and sponsors.
David also has a stage hire company and his wife Julie runs a livery yard, so they are surrounded by horses, dogs, light entertainment and and a 17 year old daughter.
He plays in a comedy jazz band and collects strange props such as the Spitting Image puppets of Denis Thatcher and Alan Bennett, the child catchers bike from the stage show of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and various other 'things' all of which he sells to raise money for the Arches Theatre, although he always finds it hard to part from these props. However as the theatre receives no funding at all, he is always devising ways to keep it going! Sponsors are always welcome!
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