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Suffolk Bear Sighting a Shakespearean April Fool???

By • West End
A theatre company staging an outdoor production of Shakespeare's A Winter's Tale have admitted being behind a recent YouTube hoax in which they filmed a 'bear' in Rendlesham Forest near Ipswich, Suffolk, where the production is being performed this summer.

It won't take the Shakespeare buffs amongst you long to figure out the connection - A Winter's Tale is famous for containing the stage direction 'Exit, pursued by a bear', describing the death of Antigonus in Act Two.

The hoax took the form of two doctored videos uploaded to YouTube – one featuring someone running through the woods filming on a camera phone (See Today's Video Picks) – as well as three conspirators contacting local authorities to report sightings of the bear. It prompted an official investigation and warnings being issued to the public.

Company member Jimmy Grimes, who filmed the video clips, said of the stunt: “This is our tenth forest production … It's such an unusual event so we're always looking for ways to get people interested. This tiny little stage direction is probably the most famous part of the play and it's something we thought we could use to get kids interested." 

Well guys, mission accomplished! Red Rose Chain Theatre Company's A Winter's Tale will be performed “deep in the heart of Rendlesham Forest” from 6 to 30 August 2009.

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