LEISURE bosses in Stafford have announced a deal that will see next year’s outdoor Shakespeare production sold to Ludlow, the Newsletter can exclusively reveal.
It will be the first time the annual production has gone on tour but producers are hoping Ludlow will become a regular addition to the show’s calendar.
It could even be extended to tour other places if it proves successful and will secure the show’s long-term future.
As part of the deal any additional expenses incurred by outsourcing the show will be met by the Ludlow Arts Festival, including wages, transport and production costs.
Stafford Borough Council, which backs the show, will also receive a share of Ludlow’s ticket sales.
Tickets are already on sale for next year’s production of As You Like It, from Sunday, June 29 to Saturday, July 12 in Stafford.
The play will be staged at Ludlow Castle from June 14 to 22, closing a week before it opens in Stafford’s castle grounds.
The deal was exclusively revealed by the Newsletter in June.
Producer Derrick Gask said: “It is hugely flattering that out of all the venues in the country the producers of the Ludlow Arts Festival have cho- sen our production.
“Ludlow has held a Shakespeare festival for more than 50 years so I am thrilled that our production of As You Like It will be seen by an audience who value Shakespeare as much as the people of Staffordshire do.
"I hope we build a long-term relationship with Ludlow.”
Ludlow Festival Director Chris Davis said: “We are honoured this year to be working in association with the brilliant Gatehouse Theatre in Stafford.”
Mr Gask added: “The event will remain a uniquely Stafford-made show. Stafford Gatehouse Theatre will continue to produce the show.
"The set and costumes will be made in Stafford and rehearsals will continue to take place in Stafford.”
Councillor Mike Smith, cabinet member for leisure, said: “Stafford Festival Shakespeare has gone from strength to strength since its first production in 1991.
"It now has an enviable reputation and we are proud to take it on tour. This partnership will help secure its longer term future.”
At the helm once again will be Peter Rowe, who has directed the production since 2009 and production designer Libby Watson.
Hundreds of tickets have already been sold as part of the early bird £5 discount scheme which runs until Monday, December 2.