Romeo’s special accolade

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Shakespeare at Traquair’s latest production, Romeo and Juliet (picture, top of page) has been endorsed by the Royal Shakespeare Company as part of its Open Stages project.

“This is terrific news for the group and the Borders,” Kath Mansfield, this year’s director, said. “It is a wonderful acknowledgement of all the enthusiasm, dedication and sheer effort it takes each year to produce a quality production in your spare time.

“Our productions attract a large following and we are careful to maintain standards.

“Perhaps it is because we are a group with high standards, all pulling in the same direction, that it is so hugely enjoyable.

“I always think that if the group enjoy the project, then that enjoyment transfers to the audience.”

In her first year as director of Shakespeare at Traquair, Kath has decided to make Friar Lawrence and Prince Escalus both female, and as a result has softened the characters.

Rosemary Donald plays the well-meaning but smug Friar Lawrence and Carol Norris is the ineffectual prince whose family is caught up in the violence of the Capulet-Montague feud.

Veteran Richard Nisbet is delighted to play Mercutio against a schoolboy Benvolio (Callum Forman).

Kath has chosen to play up the comedy of the script, adding: “Although it is a moving tragedy, Romeo and Juliet has lots of laddish comedy and lightness.”

Romeo and Juliet runs from June 1 to 4 and June 7 to 10 at Traquair House.

For more information visit www.shakespeare-at-traquair.co.uk