Shakespearean Summer at Calderstones Mansion House

The Reader Organisation has a summer of exciting events planned for Calderstones Mansion House as the first stage of its regeneration as the International Centre for Reading and Wellbeing gets underway and the famous building becomes a hub of activity once more.

The highlight of the season will be the grand reopening of the Mansion House Garden Theatre with outdoor performances from the touring production of Shakespeare’s Globe’s King Lear on Tuesday 13th and Wednesday 14th August at 7.30pm.

Starring Joseph Marcell (The Fresh Prince of Bel Air) and Rawiri Paratene (Whale Rider), the production was originally performed at the Globe Theatre in London and has since been touring Europe to critical acclaim.

Sophie Povey, The Reader Organisation’s Reader Places Manager, says: “We’re delighted that the Globe’s King Lear will be christening the re-opened Garden Theatre at the Mansion House, a place which holds wonderful memories for so many people. One of the most popular suggestions from the local community at our Open Days in April was to bring theatre back to the park, so we’re thrilled to be able to do so with one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays.

Our vision for Calderstones is a place where everyone can come together and connect, so we’re looking forward to seeing as many people as possible at this and our other summer events.”

Following the Shakespearian visit, the Mansion House garden will be the venue for the Calderstones Summer Fair on Saturday 31st August, a community celebration and fundraising event from 11am-5pm. Attractions will include crafts, stalls, a Harry Potter fancy dress competition, a poetry photo booth, live music and much more.
The organisation is keen for the local community to get involved and is asking people to get in touch if they’d like to perform at or contribute to the Fair, whether by donating books and other items for bric-a-brac, supplying homemade jam to sell, or entertaining the crowd.

Weekly shared reading groups have been running in the Mansion House since May for both adults and children. Children under 5 and their parents or carers are welcome to join the Teddy Bear’s Picnic every Thursday afternoon on the front lawn, 1.30-2.30pm, whilst their older siblings can get crafty with stories and games at Caldies Creatives on Saturday mornings, 10-11.30am.

Other summer activities include a project for Looked After Children and a course on ‘Reading Paradise Lost’ with The Reader Organisation’s Director Jane Davis on Saturday 7th September. There will also be an opportunity for independent retailers to rent a weekly ‘Pop-up Shop’ space in the Gallery in the coming months.

Cllr Malcolm Kennedy, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: “We’re delighted the Reader Organisation is doing such great things at the Mansion House, they are proving to be a real asset to Calderstones Park, and their summer programme looks set to attract people of all ages.”

As the development plans for the International Centre for Reading and Wellbeing progress, The Reader Organisation will continue consulting with the local community about their ideas. There is a weekly drop-in session at the Mansion House on Wednesdays at 4pm for anyone who wants to share their thoughts or find out more about how they can get involved.

To find out more about any of these events or plans for the International Centre for Reading and Wellbeing, please visit The Reader Organisation’s website, www.thereader.org.uk, or contact Reader Places Manager Sophie Povey, sophiepovey@thereader.org.uk .

Tickets for King Lear can be purchased from Shakespeare’s Globe Box Office 020 7401 9919 / www.shakespearesglobe.com
Summer Fair donations can be dropped off at the Mansion House on Mondays at 12pm.