2023 SEASON

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ROBIN HOOD adapted by Oliver Gray

From the earliest ballads of Robin Hood, some pre-dating Chaucer, Illyria has created a fast-moving, fun-packed family show. We introduce all the well-loved characters such as Little John and Friar Tuck, and feature tales of camaraderie, good against evil, swashbuckling action and riotous comedy.

The kingdom of England is in turmoil: harshly governed, brutally taxed and in a state of near-collapse. While good King Richard is away fighting the crusades, his friend Robert Fitzooth, Earl of Huntingdon, is arrested on the day of his own marriage to Marian Fitzwater and charged with disrupting the peace. Luckily he evades capture and hides out in Sherwood Forest under the assumed name of Robin Hood, where he and his increasing band of followers are declared outlaws. Here he makes it his mission to challenge the corrupt church landowners and redistribute their wealth, to ruin the treacherous and inept Sheriff of Nottingham, and to do all he can to prevent the power-mad Prince John from seizing the throne.

First performed by Illyria in 2007, this remains one of our most popular ever titles. You'll definitely laugh, you'll probably cry - and if you're not cheering at the archery competition involving the entire audience then you must be dead. We also guarantee you will learn new uses for the phrase “Don’t Do This At Home.” 

 

Running time (approx): 1hr 40mins (including 20 minute interval). Suitable for: all ages 5+.

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TWELFTH NIGHT by William Shakespeare

Following a shipwreck, Viola is washed ashore in Illyria, a land where everything is illogical and delirious, while the people speak lyrically because they are ill – sick with love. 

 

Viola’s only chance for survival is to make use of her quick wit and fine singing voice and to apply for the role of a eunuch in the court of Duke Orsino. Orsino recognizes her qualities and, believing his new servant to be called Cesario, sends “him” straight off to lady Olivia to woo her on his behalf. Unfortunately for everyone, “Cesario’s" efforts are so successful that Olivia falls for “him”, and Orsino’s longing is so pure that Viola falls for him. Meanwhile Olivia’s carousing uncle Sir Toby Belch crosses swords with her steward Malvolio and plays an unkind trick to make Malvolio think Olivia is in love with him. It could all end in tears - even if most of them are of laughter. 

 

Illyria presents an evening of yearning romance, music and sheer joy - all performed on a stage inspired by those of the Elizabethan touring troupes.

 

Illyria, now in its 31st consecutive season, is an intrepid band of 5 actors who perform using only the First Folio scripts, the most authoritative edition of Shakespeare’s plays.  Performances are swift, polished and spoken beautifully (uniquely among open-air touring theatre companies, Illyria’s Artistic Director has published articles on verse-speaking) – and scholars on both sides of the Atlantic agree that Illyria’s performance style is the most authentically Elizabethan to be seen. Since 1992 we have performed on what feels like every patch of grass from Land’s End to John O-Groats – and also in Ireland, France, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, USA and Canada. We are the only UK open-air touring company to have won no less than 4 international awards, and have a well-deserved reputation for being, quite simply, the best. 

 

Running time (approx): 2hrs 20mins (including 20 minute interval)

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PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen

It's back! 

 

Illyria's production of Jane Austen's glorious social comedy attracted sell-out audiences for a total of 6 years. It toured throughout the UK and Europe, attracted nationwide critical acclaim and at its run at the Edinburgh Fringe the queue for returns stretched around the block. 

 

In a frivolous social whirlwind of balls, dinners and very eligible officers, Lizzy Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy stand alone as the only sane, thoughtful people - and they hate each other! Or do they? Can she see beyond his pride, and can he overcome her prejudice, in order to achieve their mutual happiness?

 

If your idea of Jane Austen is costume-drama, empire-lines and tea-parties, then this sparkling adaptation, based entirely on the original novel, may make you change your mind. Bring a picnic and have a ball as the irrepressible Illyria sharpen their claws to bring you Jane Austen at her vibrant, pacy, forthright, bitchy best!

 

Running time (approx): 2hrs 10mins (including 20 minute interval)