A SOCIALLY-distanced performance of a famous Shakespeare play is to be staged at a New Forest pub as part of a nationwide tour.

The Open Bar theatre company is performing The Tempest in pub gardens across the country next month, including the Alice Lisle at Rockford on September 30.

The Tempest will be staged at 15 pubs owned by Fuller’s, starting with a watering hole at Greenwich on September 1.

New Forest Post:

Open Bar was formed in 2016 by Nicky Diss and Vicky Gaskin.

Nicky said: “Every year we try to bring accessible and fun Shakespeare shows to Fuller's pub gardens and this year we all need inspiring theatre more than ever.

“Trying to produce a show in 2020 has been a roller-coaster experience to say the least.

"Fuller’s has been positive and supportive throughout and, in a world where all artists are feeling under-valued and concerned for their future, we feel immensely privileged to be able to provide work for creatives – and ourselves.”

Vicky said: “Our audiences are a real mix of pub-goers and theatre fans.

"We love them all but nothing beats witnessing someone enjoying Shakespeare for the first time. The more reluctant they are at the beginning, the more magical it is.”

Referring to the current pandemic she added: "We certainly don’t shy away from a challenge.

"We love making theatre in unconventional spaces, so why not in unconventional times? Two years ago, Nicky gave birth a week before we went into rehearsals and I got married between rehearsals and opening night, so incorporating social distancing isn't likely to intimidate us.”

New Forest Post:

Open Bar is a female-led company renowned for its lively, informal style, which aims to fit perfectly with the relaxed setting of a picturesque pub garden.

The Alice Lisle is named after a Rockford woman who was beheaded in 1685 for harbouring fugitives of the Battle of Sedgemoor.

The former school was converted into a pub in the 1960s.

Former England rugby star Dean Richards has been known to drop in for a pint, while Saints legend Matt Le Tissier has also been spotted in the beer garden.

Anyone wishing to book a ticket for The Tempest should visit fullers.co.uk/event-finder/shakespeare-in-the-garden.