ABOUT US

'Shakespeare in the Park' was started in 1983 from an idea by Kim McNeilly and Dr Joe Manry. Kim, an American and the owner of Wychnor Hall at that time, had invited her friend and drama coach, Dr Joe Manry, from Texas for a holiday in England. Kim wanted to raise money for Wychnor Church and whilst she and Joe were walking together in the gardens they had thought how wonderful it would be to stage 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' in the dell at the very end of the grounds, and so a dream was born.

Kim discussed their idea with John Colston who was the Vicar of Alrewas, Wychnor and Fradley churches and also a leading player on the local AmDram scene. John suggested to Kim that she contact Maggie Faircliff because of her connections with local societies and the Lichfield District Arts Association. Maggie contacted people such as Martyn Thompson, Neil Davies, Peter Spilsbury, Colin Ablitt and Steve Baker and a meeting was arranged at Wychnor Hall. The LDAA generously provided both equipment and expertise and local businessmen supported the venture with straw bales for seating and generators for power. Thus in June of that year 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' was performed successfully.

Proceeds from the event went to charity, in the first year benefiting the Wychnor Church Restoration Fund and the Alrewas Church Restoration Fund. The event was so successful and the beautiful dell, with its large oak tree as a backdrop, made such an enchanting setting that it was decided to repeat the event and in 1984 'The Merry Wives of Windsor' was presented there, followed in 1985 by 'Twelfth Night'. In 1986 came the bombshell news that Kim and her husband, Bob, were to sell Wychnor Hall and so, unless another venue could be found, 'Shakespeare in the Park' must end. The Committee, headed by the Chairman, Maggie Faircliff, looked at many possible sites, including the beautiful wooded Italian Garden at Maple Hayes Hall. The setting and location were ideal and the great enthusiasm shown by Dr and Mrs Neville Brown and the pupils at the school, made it an easy decision to stage the next production there. A lot of work was needed to make the site suitable, but the technical crew, with much help from Dr and Mrs Neville Brown and pupils of the school, ensured the success of 'The Taming of the Shrew' in 1986.

Since then, 'Shakespeare in the Park' has continued to have a home in the Italian Gardens of Maple Hayes School, Lichfield and each year, in June, has staged one of Shakespeare's plays. Many improvements to the site have been made with a permanent lighting tower, electricity and water on site and improved car parking, but the beauty and magic of the site have been retained to make the annual event of 'Shakespeare in the Park' a truly enchanting one.

In The Dell, Wychnor Hall Gardens
1983 A Midsummer Night's Dream
1984 The Merry Wives of Windsor
1985 Twelfth Night

In the Italian Garden, Maple Hayes Hall
1986 The Taming of the Shrew
1987 As You Like It
1988 Much Ado About Nothing
1989 The Comedy Of Errors
1990 Love's Labour's Lost
1991 Romeo and Juliet
1992 A Midsummer Night's Dream
1993 The Winter's Tale
1994 The Merry Wives Of Windsor
1995 The Two Gentlemen of Verona
1996 Twelfth Night
1997 All's Well That Ends Well

1998 The Merchant of Venice
1999 Love's Labour's Lost
2000 The Taming of the Shrew
2001 The Tempest
2002 A Midsummer Night's Dream
2003 As You Like It
2004 Much Ado About Nothing
2005 Twelfth Night
2006 Measure For Measure
2007 The Comedy of Errors
2008 Love's Labour's Lost
2009 Macbeth
2010 The Taming of the Shrew
2011 The Merry Wives of Windsor
2012 A Midsummer Night's Dream
2013 The Tempest
2014 Romeo and Juliet

Previous Productions