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All the the Botanical Gardens a stage

All the world’s a stage—or at least the Botanical Gardens

The Dell in Wellington’s Botanical Gardens will be transformed into the Forest of Arden in February, with Summer Shakespeare taking on As You Like It as its 25th anniversary performance.

Performed between Friday 2 February and Saturday 17 February, As You Like It is the story of love in all its guises in a rustic setting—although this production will place the characters in a setting more familiar to New Zealanders, says co-director, Jim Vilé.

“As You Like It is the most joyful Shakespearean comedy, which is beautifully suited to an outdoor setting. The play places urban characters in a rural environment to find love and fulfilment by escaping their town-based conflicts and tensions. This parallels the aspirations of large numbers of people today, who escape the stresses and strains of modern city living by going to the country.”

The tradition of Summer Shakespeare is sponsored by Victoria University and the Summer Shakespeare Trust, a dedicated group of theatre practitioners, administrators, and staff from Victoria University. Students from the University also feature in the cast.

The two accomplished directors, Jim Vilé and Sue Rider, have come from Brisbane to direct the play, one of the Bard’s best-loved comedies, and say it is a warm, fun piece of theatre that can be enjoyed by all ages.

Ms Rider says it’s also a play full of energy. “With songs, martial arts, disguises, mistaken identities and, of course, lovers, it’s a big, warm piece of theatre to bring a large cast together in a creative and enjoyable production, and entertain a wide audience,” says Ms Rider.

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The annual Summer Shakespeare has been part of Wellington’s cultural calendar since 1982. Each year, this community event brings a large cast production of Shakespeare’s best-loved plays to the public.

As You Like It will be performed in The Dell, behind Wellington Botanical Gardens’ Begonia House, at 7.30pm from Friday 2 February to Saturday 17 February. Performances will be held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. There will be no shows on Mondays and Thursdays. Matinees will be held on Saturdays and Sundays at 3pm, except on 3 February.

Tickets cost $20 for adults, $15 for concessions, or $38 for a family. Bookings can be made at, or by phoning 0508 iTicket.


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