Shakespeare in the Garden returns to boost Fuller’s footfall

Premium pub and hotel company Fuller, Smith & Turner has announced the welcome return of Shakespeare in the Garden, transforming 32 of pub gardens into the perfect setting for open-air Shakespeare with a mammoth 47 performances from July until September - the biggest number yet.

Produced by theatre company Open Bar, this year’s production sees two of the Bard’s favourites – Romeo & Juliet and The Merry Wives of Windsor – taking centre stage in pub gardens across the Fuller’s estate. This is the eighth year running that Fuller’s pub customers have been able to enjoy alfresco productions from Britain’s greatest playwright.

This is the second year that two shows have been produced – a compact performance, which this year is Romeo & Juliet, for those pubs with smaller outside spaces and a classic version, The Merry Wives of Windsor. Customers can attend one of 20 performances of Romeo & Juliet, across 14 Fuller’s pubs from 9 July to 3 August.

Following on from this run, The Merry Wives of Windsor will appear at 18 pubs, with 27 performances, from 30 July to 14 September.

Open Bar co-founder, Nicky Diss, said, “We’re really excited to be working with Fuller’s for the fourth year. Over the last three years we’ve really got to know the Shakespeare in the Garden audiences, so I know these two plays will be very popular. The relaxed atmosphere of the pub garden is perfect for allowing everyone to be a part of the story and laugh along with us.”

Vicky Gaskin, Open Bar co-founder, said, “Romeo & Juliet is such a well-loved classic and we’ll be using a modern interpretation to retell the story. I’m sure our audiences will be enthralled as the actors battle it out on the streets of Verona. Yes, there will be swords, yes there will be laughter (this is Open Bar after all!), but will there be a happy ending? No. Obviously not!”

Gaskin added, “This is the first time The Merry Wives of Windsor has been performed as part of Fuller’s Shakespeare in the Garden – and it comes due to popular request from our previous audiences. This epic farce, chaotic comedy and multi-prank fiesta is based around the larger than life character Falstaff and the formidable women he comes up against. It’s absolutely the perfect play for a pub garden setting.”