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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 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 £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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