The magic of Shakespeare entertains audiences at Norwich Cathedral

Shakespeare Festival at Norwich Cathedral. Photo: Paul Hurst.

Shakespeare Festival at Norwich Cathedral. Photo: Paul Hurst. - Credit: Archant

Shakespearean comedy played out against the beautiful backdrop of Norwich Cathedral is delighting audiences this weekend.

Shakespeare Festival at Norwich Cathedral. Photo: Paul Hurst.

Shakespeare Festival at Norwich Cathedral. Photo: Paul Hurst. - Credit: Archant

The Lord Chamberlain's Men is presenting Much Ado About Nothing in the historic venue's cloisters for the cathedral's Shakespeare Festival.

The company - known for presenting Shakespeare's plays just as they would have been done in his day - performed to an audience of about 700 last night and will also take to the stage tonight.

A play that looks at the battle of the sexes, Much Ado About Nothing has the relationship of Beatrice and Benedick at its heart.

Peter Stickney, the company's artistic director, said he had long admired the play which he described as 'one of Shakespeare's best.'

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'Down the years there have been some very famous Beatrices and Benedicks, that incredible partnership and sparring couple,' he said.

'The 'will they, wont they' nature of their story is absolutely fantastic.'

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The company is in the sixth week of a 16-week tour, and Mr Stickney said he hoped audiences came away from the show feeling like they had watched something 'authentic, excellent and magical.'

He said: 'We tour to some really fantastic houses and castles and we are incredibly lucky. The cathedral is absolutely magnificent...we get this extraordinary experience with the cloisters all around us.'

The Norwich dates are particularly special for Mr Stickney because he grew up in Saxlingham Nethergate and went to Long Stratton High School and the Hewett School.

'I really love coming back to Norwich. I get the chance to have friends and family along. I also have wonderful memories of coming to the cathedral when I was younger. To bring the company that means a huge amount to me to the city that means a huge amount to me is brilliant.'

The cathedral's Shakespeare Festival is a highlights of the city's cultural calendar and is this year marking the 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare.

• Much Ado About Nothing is at Norwich Cathedral tonight at 7pm. People are welcome to arrive early to enjoy picnics in the cloisters before the show. Tickets £20 (£18 concessions). Book tickets online at and via the Norwich Theatre Royal box office on 01603 630000.

• A special service celebrating animals is also taking place in Norwich Cathedral's cloisters on Sunday at 6.30pm, and people are invited to bring their pets to the occasion. For more, visit

Do you have a Norwich arts story? Email arts correspondent Emma Knights at

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