People’s Shakespeare The Merry Wives of Windsor


Sponsored by Harwood House

Pinder Hall, Lower Road SL6 9EH3  Friday 8 May at 7.30pm, Saturday 9 May 2pm and Saturday 9 May 7.30pm. Licensed bar. Ticket £10.

IMG_8562Is your wife being unfaithful? Got a  suspect in mind? Need a plan to trap  them both? Mistress Ford is suspected  by her husband of having an affair with  Sir John Falstaff. Driven by jealousy, he  resolves to have his revenge, but things  don’t go according to plan…  Join The People’s Shakespeare  for Shakespeare’s sauciest comedy,  presented by the people of Cookham!

The People’s Shakespeare exists  to attract newcomers to the stage  and, specifically, to introduce them to  the works of our National Playwright,  William Shakespeare. We exist to prove  that there is nothing mystical about  acting, and nothing difficult about acting  Shakespeare. Of course it’s a challenge,  but a challenge that, with the right  direction and coaching, can be met.  Over a four month rehearsal period,  we explore just what it takes to connect  with a play that is nearly five hundred  years old and bring the most famous  of characters to life. Shakespeare  was never meant to be read in rows  at school, but performed. We get our  actors on their feet as soon as possible,  getting to grips with the scenes they are  performing, working out just what their  characters are doing and thinking at any  given moment. We offer them tips on  stage craft and vocal technique so they  feel comfortable and confident  that they are giving of their best.

Sir John FalstaffMany of our actors have no previous  stage experience and may never have  read Shakespeare before. The revelation  that, far from being dusty museum  pieces, his plays are living, breathing,  relevant works often takes us by surprise.  We have found that Shakespeare is  not for the academics or ‘those who  understand it’, but for everyone.  Our previous productions for the  Cookham Festival (2011’s A Midsummer  Night’s Dream & 2013’s Richard III) have  featured many faces from the village, and  so it is with this year’s The Merry Wives of  Windsor. I think there is a special thrill to  seeing people you know, or whose faces  you see every day, treading the stage  and speaking Shakespeare’s words  with confidence and clarity. We present  Shakespeare for the people of Cookham  by the people of Cookham! Over a four month rehearsal period,  we explore just what it takes to connect  with a play that is nearly five hundred  years old and bring the most famous  of characters to life. Shakespeare  was never meant to be read in rows  at school, but performed. We get our  actors on their feet as soon as possible,  getting to grips with the scenes they are  performing, working out just what their  characters are doing and thinking at any  given moment. We offer them tips on  stage craft and vocal technique so they  feel comfortable and confident  that they are giving of their best.

Richard James,

director.