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Tolethorpe 2024

25th June 2024

Throughout the summer (until 24 August this year) the Stamford Shakespeare Company presents an annual season of plays. Described by The Sunday Times as ‘One of the finest things to do this summer’ and The Stage as ‘One of England’s premier alfresco theatre venues’, it really is an experience not to be missed. The open-air theatre is situated in the grounds of historic Tolethorpe Hall, just two miles from Stamford, where each summer over 30,000 people experience the magic of a visit to this unique venue. Dine at The Fig Tree, a brand new restaurant at Tolethorpe for the 2024 season, or enjoy a picnic in the glorious grounds, then take your seat, protected from summer showers (the audience is covered, although the actors are not), and see a stage like no other

Few things say summer in our region like the annual season of plays presented by the Stamford Shakespeare Company at Rutland’s open-air theatre at Tolethorpe Hall. This year there are four plays to delight audiences: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, an adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, The Recruiting Officer and, performed by Tolethorpe Youth Drama group, A Monster Calls. To complement your afternoon or evening of theatre, you can enjoy a meal at The Fig Tree restaurant at the Hall or order one of their delicious-sounding picnic hampers to enjoy in Tolethorpe’s idyllic grounds. We take a closer look at what’s on the programme and how to book.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare (June & July)

The woodland backdrop of the Tolethorpe stage provides the perfect setting for Shakespeare’s most spellbinding play. As twilight descends, the theatre transforms into a late Edwardian realm of magic and mischief, where love’s spell weaves through tangled relationships. Enter an enchanted forest and witness the twisted romances of four young lovers and the hilarious escapades of a merry band of hopeless actors. Suddenly, amidst the moonlit chaos, fairies appear. The mischievous antics of the fairy king and queen, Oberon and Titania, and their impish servant, Puck, will delight audiences of all ages. As love potions go awry, the characters find themselves entangled in a maze of mistaken identities and fantastical transformations. A play that is enormous fun for the whole family.

The Recruiting Officer by George Farquhar (June & August)

Step into the vibrant world of The Recruiting Officer, a rollicking romp and the most popular play of the 18th century. Follow the misadventures of womanising Captain Plume and his fellow officers as they arrive in the lively market town of Shrewsbury on a mission to recruit soldiers for the army. As they employ bribery, flattery and cunning plans to entice the locals, they become embroiled in a web of romantic entanglements and comic misunderstandings. The recruitment of soldiers is left to wily Sergeant Kite, who dresses up as a fortune teller in order to trick naive young men into joining up. The plot thickens as Captain Plume falls for the witty and resourceful Sylvia. When Sylvia’s disapproving father sends her away to the country, she returns disguised as a man and offers to enlist. This uproarious comedy has it all: plot twists, cross-dressing, forged letters, mistaken identities, love triangles, hilarious disguises, folk musicians and a host of colourful, comic characters.

Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen, adapted by Jessica Swale (July & August)

The original romantic comedy from the master of the genre. When their family faces financial hardship and social upheaval, the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, must confront their contrasting approaches to life and love. Elinor embodies sense, displaying reason and restraint, while Marianne represents sensibility, exuding passion and impulsiveness. They encounter romantic entanglements with various suitors and grapple with gossip, heartache, societal pressures and the clash between head and heart. Laugh your cares away with a captivating production that celebrates the strength of sisterhood. A Regency-era rollercoaster of comedy and romance, as the Dashwood sisters navigate society’s expectations in their pursuit of true love.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (July)

Conor has had the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill. But tonight is different. He wakes at seven minutes past midnight, and there’s a monster at his window. It is ancient, elemental, a force of nature, and it wants something from Conor. It wants the truth.

TYD Theatre Makers, Tolethorpe’s youth theatre (16- to 22-year-olds) bring you this dazzling story of love, life and healing based on the novel by Patrick Ness and inspired by an original idea by Siobhan Dowd. The production is devised by Sally Cookson, Adam Peck and the Company.

The Fig Tree at Tolethorpe Hall

The Fig Tree is a new restaurant at Tolethorpe Hall for the 2024 season. It’s run by local brothers Grant and Nathan Worthington, who have extensive backgrounds in catering and hospitality, and are dedicated to showcasing the best of locally sourced, fresh ingredients. The restaurant opens at 5.30pm to provide pre-theatre dining. From salads and lights bites for £8 to a hearty carvery for £17 and desserts from £3, there’s something to please every palate. The Fig Tree is also offering ready-made picnics. Priced at £18 per person or £30 for a picnic for two, they’re filled with a variety of irresistible treats.

To book a table at The Fig Tree at Tolethorpe, pre-order a picnic or simply to request more information, call 07955 670819 or email

FIND OUT MORE & BOOK: Tickets cost £15.50–£22.50. Call the box office on 01780 917240. Book online at

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