Cambridge Shakespeare Festival '17 part 2

Four down and four more plays still to come in the second half of the festival

The Cambridge Shakespeare Festival is one of those annual events that makes you feel hugely fortunate to live in our wonderful city. After all, what could be lovelier than a balmy summer evening spent in a beautiful college garden, watching some of the greatest plays ever written?

You can even bring along a picnic, or just nibbles and wine, to enjoy prior to each performance to make the experience even lovelier. 

The plays are performed in traditional Elizabethan dress, and the Festival aims to make Shakespeare accessible even to those without prior knowledge of the plays. 

Following on from July’s run of four plays, the second part of the festival features another four and takes place between 31 July and 26 August. 

The Merry Wives of Windsor at Robinson College Gardens is a fabulously witty farce featuring one of Shakespeare’s greatest comic characters, Sir John Falstaff, also seen in the Henry history plays. He foolishly tries to woo two rich widows with identical love letters, so the women pair up to give him his comic comeuppance. 

Head to Trinity College for the ethereal A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s an absolutely perfect play to enjoy in the idyllic garden surroundings, and its themes of love, fairies, magic and misunderstandings make this an excellent option to enjoy with younger children. 

Be transported from the gardens of King’s College to the streets of Verona by the timeless, tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet, as you cross your fingers and toes and hope that maybe this time, things will end well for the star-crossed lovers. 

Finally, St John’s College Gardens is hosting King Lear, a salutary tale of sibling rivalry and the challenges of old age. With a bit of luck, the windswept conditions of the play’s climax will exist only in your enchanted imagination while the sun shines down on actors and audience alike. 

All shows start at 7.30pm. Charity performances are at 2.30pm on Saturday afternoons and raise money for East Anglia Children’s Hospices and St John’s Hospice on the Wirral. Tickets are £16, or £12 for concessions.