We have been keen followers of the Water Lane Theatre Company for some time now. Water Lane is an Amateur Theatre Group based in Bishop’s Stortford.
I have the good fortune to have a friend in the group which is how we stumbled upon Water Lane many years ago.
We attended our first show some years back and have remained keen followers. We have seen some cracking performances over the years.
A fellow blogger recently questioned why we don’t see many teens in the audience of the theatre these days.
The answer to this is quite simple for us. We live in London and for a family of three to go to the theatre, it is very expensive.
We adore theatre as a family but it is a treat and reserved for a special occasion.
However that is not to say that we aren’t always on the look out for alternative options and reduced ticket prices. The Not Just the 3 of Us family are always on the look out for a new experience.
And Water Lane is our special find.
The pièce de résistance is the annual production in the Monastery Gardens in Bishop’s Stortford in July.
We really look forward to this each year.
The setting is second to none.
The beautiful monastery gardens are an idyllic location. Couple this with the fact that the weather is always glorious and you have a perfect evening of summer entertainment for the whole family.
It is in these fabulous grounds that we are treated to the delights of a Shakespeare performance.
The Water Lane cast gave themselves a hard act to follow this year, after setting their own bench mark so incredibly high with their outstanding performance of Midsummer Nights Dream last July.
A stunning performance that left the audience wanting to do it all again. Pure brilliance that made its way into our journal of highlights for 2016.
This year the Monastery Gardens played host to Water Lane’s production of Love’s Labour’s Lost.
And it didn’t disappoint.
The crowd were arriving early as is usual for this event. Easily spotted with their picnic rugs, chairs and the delights of their hampers to secure their spaces on the lawn and catch the late evening sunshine before the performance.
One by one we saw the cast appear in their guises, crafting their characters in their own unique way.
Having the benefit of remembering many of them from previous performances, it is always a joy to see who has been cast in each role.
Undeterred by the ‘inaccessibility’ of a Shakespeare play, and particularly so with a lesser known play such as this, one can easily get the gist of the storyline by doing their research beforehand.
This is something that we would naturally do anyway to ensure our teen daughter has a general understanding. It was a necessity for us too this year.
But these performances can be enjoyed on many levels and in many ways.
Fans of the Bard can indulge in the comedy, history and tragedy of the underlying story because, as we know in the world of Shakespeare, there is much ‘seeming’ and ‘being’ and nothing is ever as it seems.
Others, with a brief understanding of the storyline can enjoy the simple pleasures of the performance as it plays out.
For younger children, the spectacle of the performance and the mystery of where the cast members may appear from – coupled with the singing and dancing, is enough to draw them away from anything remotely digital for an hour or two.
As dusk starts to fall, the sound of corks popping on this barmy evening is all that can be heard from the happy audience.
It is because of local drama groups such as these that we are able to access the very best of theatre that we may otherwise have to miss out on.
And it is only with the support of the public that these groups are able to continue to put on such fabulous performances.
I should add that the whole evening cost £16.50 (that’s £5.50 per ticket!!) plus the cost of a 30 minute car journey and a picnic.
Such an incredibly economic way to access the theatre for all.
And to all involved at Water Lane – BRAVO!
Thank you for a wonderful evening! We will be back.
The good news is that this performance is running for a further two days next weekend at the Gibberd Garden, Harlow. You can purchase tickets by clicking on the flyer below. The weather is set to be perfect again for the weekend.
With the summer holidays approaching, I thoroughly recommend doing a little research into local theatre groups where you live. I am sure that there are many groups out there to cater for all tastes and pockets.