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David Pibworth | The Blog

Actor, Writer, Producer, Director

William Shakespeare At The Arches Theatre

Fun facts about the birthday bard ...

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Posted by David Pibworth on 21/04/2020 @ 8:00AM

With it being William Shakespeare's this Thursday (23rd April), I thought I would give you five interesting facts about two of his plays that our visiting theatre companies will be performing this summer at The Arches Theatre ...

Happy birthday to The Bard, William Shakespeare! (Joseph Fiennes did a very good job of portraying him in Shakespear In Love!)

Happy birthday to The Bard, William Shakespeare! (Joseph Fiennes did a very good job of portraying him in Shakespear In Love!)

copyright: universal pictures / miramax

Up first, we have A Midsummer Night's Dream, which will be staged by local troupe, Etcetera, from the 6th to the 8th of August.

  • The play inspired the musician, Felix Mendelssohn. He wrote the Wedding March in 1842.

  • The play was not performed in its entirety until the 1840s. Prior to this, adaptations that didn't use the original text were staged.

  • British astronomer William Herschel discovered two moons around Uranus in 1787 and named them after the play's characters, Titania and Oberon. There's also a moon named Puck which was discovered later.

  • Shakespeare took the name for his fairy queen, Titania, from the poem 'Metamorphoses' written by the Roman poet, Ovid.

  • Diarist, Samuel Pepys, first saw the play on the 29th of September 1662 and hated it. He said: "Then to the King's Theatre, where we saw A Midsummer's Night's Dream, which I had never seen before, nor shall ever again, for it is the most insipid ridiculous play that ever I saw in my life. I saw, I confess, some good dancing and some handsome women, which was all my pleasure."

Well, we love A Midsummer Night's Dream and I am positive you will enjoy this magical and fun stage adaptation too! Next, we have The Merchant of Venice performed by professional company, The Wet Mariners on 15th of August.

  • There are the only two recorded performances of the play during Shakespeare's lifetime. The first one was on February 10 1605, before King James I at court. The King enjoyed it so much that he asked for another show soon after.

  • The play has given us some incredibly famous phrases, including 'pound of flesh', 'with bated breath', 'all that glitters is not gold' and 'a blinking idiot'.

  • Shakespeare possibly invented the name Jessica - the name given to Shylock's daughter. The name did not exist before the play was written. It may have been spelt Jescha in Shakespeare's time.

  • Shakespeare's source and inspiration for the play may have been from an Italian tale in a collection called 'The Simpleton'.

  • As a convention of Elizabethan drama, the highest-ranking character gets to speak the last lines of the play. You will have to wait until August to find out who takes the last line!

Tickets are available for all shows on our website so why not celebrate the Bards birthday by purchasing tickets to one (or both) of these fantastic stage adaptations?

"Are you a current ticket holder?"

We are continuing to plan for our summer productions and hope that we can bring you great live theatre this August. We are keeping a close eye on the news and advice from the Government about the current situation and we will be able to make an informed decision nearer the time.

If we postpone the productions, you will have the choice to either keep your tickets until we reschedule the performance, or you can have a refund. We hope that we will not have to postpone shows, but we must ensure that we follow the Governments guidelines and keep our staff, performers and audience members safe.

Until next time ...



Would you like to know more?

If anything I've written in this blog post resonates with you and you'd like to discover more, it may be a great idea to give me a call on 01234 241357 and let's see how I can help you.

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About David Pibworth ...


David is the owner of David Pibworth Productions who provides entertainment for theatre and corporate events. This ties in very well with The Arches Theatre, an outside venue that David owns underneath a disused railway line, equidistant from Bedford, Northampton and Milton Keynes. This was one of the few venues that could operate with social distancing in place during the summer of 2020 and where they ran everything from Shakespeare to Richard Digance through the summer months.

David has been involved in light entertainment for many years, even going back as far as working on a production with Norman Wisdom in London. He has a knack of keeping in touch with everyone he's worked with and would bring such people as Chas and Dave, Kenny Ball and Acker Bilk round to play locally when the chance arose.

His company also represent the stage rights for Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, the writers of Steptoe and Son and Hancock's Half Hour. He has recently negotiated permission with Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais to produce Porridge on stage although this is all hampered by the current situation and the availability of theatres.

Next year, at the Arches Theatre, he will produce Ripping Yarns, written by Michael Palin and Terry Jones. This will be an interesting production as not only does one episode involve playing a football match, but also with the agreement of Michael Palin and the wife of the late Terry Jones, it has been decided that all the profits on this production will go to a dementia charity as Terry Jones died as a result of dementia, as did David's father and uncle.