The Scotsman 13 June 2023

For all the popularity of Bard In The Botanics, Glasgow’s al fresco Shakespeare festival, the company behind it could not be accused of pandering to popular taste. True, it is not above staging crowd-pleasers; in its 21-year history it has returned five times to A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Twelfth Night and four times to Much Ado About Nothing. “Why would you programme something no one wants to come and see?” says associate director Jennifer Dick with good reason.

But what is also true is that the company is willing to venture off the beaten track and spring surprises. This summer’s season kicks off with a main stage Julius Caesar and, in the Kibble Palace, a condensing of both parts of Henry IV for a cast of four.

“We have the space to look at the full range of Shakespeare’s work,” says artistic director Gordon Barr. “That is partly because of the length of time we’ve been going, building up the receptivity of the audience to know they’re going to enjoy what we’re doing. That allows them to take more risks with us.” [READ MORE]

By Mark Fisher

MARK FISHER is a freelance theatre critic and feature writer based in Edinburgh and has written about theatre in Scotland since the late-1980s. He is a theatre critic for The Guardian, a former editor of The List magazine and a frequent contributor to the Scotsman and other publications. He is the co-editor of the play anthology Made in Scotland (1995), and the author of The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide (2012) and How to Write About Theatre (2015) – all Bloomsbury Methuen Drama. He is also the editor of The XTC Bumper Book of Fun for Boys and Girls and What Do You Call That Noise? An XTC Discovery Book (both Mark Fisher Ltd).