Romance and revenge under the stars

Following its acclaimed ‘Much ado about nothing’ (2008) and set in the midst of the beautiful Bannau Brycheiniog National Park, the highly celebrated actors and musicians of the Festival Players Theatre Company will bring to life one of the Bard’s great plays of romance and revenge with their adaptation of ‘The Merchant of Venice’.  It delivers both comedy and passion, and the central theme delivers the most suspense-filled court scene of all the great plays – and the Players will be treating audiences to even more of a show by fielding an entirely male cast!

This engaging tale even in its own time was considered one of Shakespeare’s most controversial and complex plays.  It involves the vengeful character of Shylock – a Jewish moneylender who seeks a very real pound of flesh from the generous and faithful Christian, Antonio.  Shakespeare’s heroine, Portia and her lover Bassanio successfully defend his friend Antonio from Shylock’s legal suit. But when Shylock’s beloved daughter elopes with a man who belongs to a strong anti-Semitic society his vengeance overcomes his common sense and Shylock is literally forced to his knees renouncing his Jewish faith and fortune.

Renowned for his classic and witty adaptations of Shakespeare, Artistic Director Michael Dyer said, “This year we celebrate our 24th year of open-air performances and we have certainly raised a few eyebrows along the way when people realised there was not an actress in sight.  Although it might seem unusual today to field an all-male cast it is in fact totally authentic – we are just following in the footsteps of Shakespeare’s own Elizabethan Globe Theatre when all the roles were taken by men.”

Richard Levy, Manager of the National Park Visitor Centre said, “The Festival Players Theatre Company is the most popular touring theatre in the country and we are thrilled that they keep returning to the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park to host one of their few open air productions in Wales.  Judging on their past performances we are expecting a great turnout and a hugely enjoyable evening.”

People are invited to bring their own outdoor seating, rugs, blankets and picnics.  Welsh picnic hampers are available from the National Park Visitor Centre by booking in advance with Andrew Powell on 01874 624 979 and tickets can be purchased from the National Park Visitor Centre, Libanus by telephoning 01874 623 366 or emailing
In advance – adults £10, children (under 16) and concessions £6 or family tickets (2 adults and 3 children) £30
On the night – adults £14.00, children (under 16) and concessions £9 or family tickets £50



Further information on the Festival Players 2009 performances can be found at