STAFFORD'S annual outdoor Shakespeare production will transport theatre-lovers back to the era of free love and cold war paranoia.
Peter Rowe, director of As You Like It, has revealed the setting for this year's Stafford Festival Shakespeare production.
"This production sets Shakespeare's much-loved comedy amid the culture wars of the late 60s, just as Cold War paranoia and repression is giving way to the counter culture of free expression, free verse and free love," Rowe said.
"The Cold War chill thaws as the sun beams down on the summer of love and we see how much more fun and funnier life can be when you 'turn on, tune in, drop out'."
As You Like It is one of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies. Expelled from court by a brutal, repressive and unsmiling regime Celia, Orlando, Rosalind and her father, the exiled Duke, create an alternative community far away from the corrupt city in the woods and meadows of Arden. Here, among the fields and forests, the hardship of homelessness and the pain of expulsion are forgotten amongst music, laughter and the playful pursuit of love.
The play's producers recently revealed the casting of John Challis and Eric Potts, as Jacques and Touchstone, a pairing Rowe is thrilled about.
“I am really looking forward to working with these two comedy giants of stage and screen.
“John Challis will make the perfect melancholy Jacques and Eric Potts the perfectly madcap Touchstone.”
Featuring the festival's much-loved combination of original music, celebration and unique setting, As You Like It is set to be a highlight in Staffordshire's cultural calendar.
Staged in the beautiful and ancient grounds of Stafford Castle with all weather grandstand seating, the festival offers the perfect setting to start the summer come rain or shine.
As You Like It opens on Sunday, June 29 and runs until Saturday, July 12.
Tickets start from £12 and can be booked by calling the box office on 01785 254653 or by visiting www.stafford festivalshakespeare.co.uk.