Following the success of the performance of Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor at Penshurst Place last month, August 12 sees Changeling Theatre bring The Importance of Being Earnest to the stately home. The location for the alfresco show will once again be Penshurst Place’s glorious South Lawn which overlooks the historic country pile’s Italian gardens.
Satirical Performed by Changeling Theatre and directed by Robert Forknall, The Importance of Being Earnest, follows the story of two eligible bachelors, Jack and Algy in Oscar Wilde’s satirical masterpiece. In love with two women who conveniently claim to only love men named Ernest, Jack and Algy create alter egos called Ernest to win their hearts. In a struggle to keep up with their own stories, they quickly become tangled in a tale of deception, disguise and hysterical misadventure. The cast features children’s TV star Noah Marullo of Tracey Beaker fame as part of its talented group of actors. Ben Thomas, General Manager at Penshurst Place, told the Times: “Last year’s outdoor theatre at Penshurst Place proved so popular that we are delighted to be able to offer it again. It is a lovely way to enjoy a long summer evening outside…
‘August 12 sees the Changeling Theatre bring The Importance of Being Earnest to the stately home’
and especially nice to have the opportunity to see the gardens at dusk after we shut to the public. There is a real sense of tranquillity and peace as the day moves into early evening here, an almost magical time and a perfect setting to enjoy a picnic on the grass while being entertained. “Penshurst Place has long been associated with literary excellence so it seems particularly apt to welcome back these this exceptional touring company to perform here once again”, adds Ben.
Perfect setting “Penshurst Place has been inspiring writers for centuries. Celebrated Elizabethan poet Sir Philip Sidney was born and lived here, and a few years ago we staged the first public performance of his niece’s play ‘Love’s Victory’ by Lady Mary Wroth. Ben Johnson also dedicated a poem to the house in his famous eulogy ‘To Penshurst’ as did Elizabeth Barret Browning in ‘The Picture Gallery at Penshurst.” Changeling Theatre is a professional touring theatre company serving community audiences across South East England. It was founded in 1997 to produce high quality, entertaining theatre in non-traditional locations for community audiences across the region. It is best known for its hugely successful open air tour every summer which takes theatre beyond the stage, creating site-specific performances in public locations such as Chatham Dockyard, Dover Castle, Maidstone Football Ground and Boughton Monchelsea Place, as well as community parks, private homes and gardens. Changeling also has a talent lab, which provides a critical springboard for emerging talent from all disciplines and backgrounds.
Ben finishes by saying that visitors coming to see The Importance of Being Earnest may bring their own picnics to enjoy at the show, along with blankets, cushions and folding chairs as these will not be provided. A licensed bar will be open for drinks and snacks prior to each performance and a light supper menu will be on offer in the nearby Garden Room.