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The Watermill announces reopening season beginning this month

The much-loved Newbury Theatre is back in action

The Watermill in Newbury
© Eden Harrhy

Exclusive: The Watermill in Newbury has unveiled a summer season of outdoor performances running from 21 May.

After an idyllic inaugural open air season last year, the venue will return once more to al fresco performances with socially distanced tables seating between two and six people.

The Watermill will kickstart its season with returning comedic hit The Hound of the Baskervilles, devised by the company and directed by Abigail Pickard Price. It plays until 19 June.

This will be followed by a new actor-musician staging of As You Like It, directed by the venue's artistic director Paul Hart with adaptation by Yolanda Mercy, design by Katie Lias, lighting by Tom White and sound by Tom Marshall.

Shakespeare's play will be interwoven with tunes inspired by the likes of Mumford and Sons, Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver and Taylor Swift. Playing from 24 June to 24 July, there will be a focus on eco-friendly practices across the production, marking a new direction for the theatre.

Completing the season will be a semi-staged concert version of Stiles and Drewe's hit musical Just So. Based on the stories of Rudyard Kipling, it runs from 30 July to 4 September with direction by Pickard Price and musical direction from Tarek Merchant. Notably, the musical first began its life at the venue in 1989, where it was produced by Cameron Mackintosh.

Also on the creative team are orchestrator Christopher Jahnke, associate orchestrator John Clancy and Marshall as sound designer.

Casts are to be revealed, with dining options also available for visitors on show days.

The venue has also launched a fresh fundraising appeal titled "Act 2", with Hart saying: "The past year has undoubtedly been a challenging time for us, but the generosity of our community has truly blown us away. Buoyed by your encouragement we are delighted to be reopening, and hope that you feel able to continue to support our mission to uplift and inspire people through great theatre."

Tickets go on general sale on 11 May 2021.

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