Glasgow festival unveils 'sparkling' 2024 programme

The cast of The Merry Wives of Wishaw <i>(Image: Bard in the Botanics)</i>
The cast of The Merry Wives of Wishaw (Image: Bard in the Botanics)

A DISTINCTLY west of Scotland take on a famous play will have a starring role in Glasgow’s popular Shakespeare festival this summer.

The Merry Wives of Wishaw is part of Bard in the Botanics 2024, which opens on June 21.

The outdoor theatre festival, which takes place at the Botanic Gardens and Kibble Palace, will also include a new version of Measure for Measure.

Glasgow Times:
Glasgow Times:

Continuing its commitment to widening the repertoire, the season will also include versions of two 19th century works featuring remarkable women – Jane Eyre and Hedda Gabler.

Glasgow Times:
Glasgow Times:

Artistic director Gordon Barr, who is at the helm for his 21st programme, said: “Our 2024 season features a mix of riotous comedy, heartfelt romance, compelling characters and powerful drama, all contributing to a fascinating look at how the world sees women and how they react to that world.”

He added: “I’m delighted to be announcing another season of work that sees Shakespeare sit alongside the best of classical drama and literature.

“Jane Eyre will be the first adaptation of a novel to be staged on our outdoor stage. After Jennifer Dick did such a brilliant job with Jekyll and Hyde in 2023, I can’t wait to see how she brings Jane Eyre to life for audiences this summer.

Glasgow Times:
Glasgow Times:

“We are excited to be working with Kathy McKean following her remarkable adaptation of Medea. Once again, the lead in the production will be taken by the award-winning Nicole Cooper. Working with Kathy and Nicole on Medea was one of the most rewarding experiences of my entire career. I’m so excited to be reuniting with them both to get to grips with Hedda Gabler.”


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The second half of the season, which runs from July 12 to 27,  sees Alan Steele reprise the role of Falstaff (following Henry IV last year) in the The Merry Wives of Wishaw, a West of Scotland take on the The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Directed by Gordon Barr, this sparkling comedy, which makes its Bard debut this year, will be performed on the main stage. The second show in the Kibble Palace will see Stephanie McGregor in the role of Isabella in a new production of Measure for Measure adapted and directed by Jennifer Dick.

Glasgow Times:
Glasgow Times:

Gordon said: “It’s great that in our third decade of work, we can still bring audiences a Shakespeare title that they haven’t seen here before.

“This will be the first time that Bard in the Botanics has staged The Merry Wives of Windsor or, as it is in this version, The Merry Wives of Wishaw, once again offering a platform to the wonderful comic talent of Alan Steele as the iconic Falstaff.”

He added: “Measure for Measure is a play that, sadly, never feels anything other than utterly contemporary and as society continues to fight against men’s abuse of their power over women, it remains frighteningly relevant to today – and a fitting addition to a season exploring the experience of women.”

 

 

 

 

Tickets for Bard in the Botanics 2024 season will go on sale on Monday 29 April and can be booked on the festival’s website.