The Bard is back in town for his 66th year

Cast of the Comedy of Errors at the Pendley Shakespeare Festival in 2014
Cast of the Comedy of Errors at the Pendley Shakespeare Festival in 2014

An annual festival celebrating all things Shakespeare is back in Tring for its 66th year this summer – this time with two Sunday matinees added to the programme.

The open air event, which runs from August -16, kicks off with perhaps what some may say is the playwright’s finest comedy, Twelfth Night.

And then, exactly 600 years since the Battle of Agincourt, King Henry V marches again as the title character of The Bard’s most patriotic play.

Organisers Sarah Perry and Sarah Branston assure fans that all the traditional elements of the festival remain, but as Shakespeare was a constant innovator who thrivesdon surprising his audience, the event tries to mirror this.

This year’s major change is the introduction of a 3pm matinee onboth Sunday 9 and 16, which organisers hope will please parents who want to bring their children along to experience the fun, but were put off by the late-night driving in years gone by.

James Sheldrake, the festival’s literary advisor, said: ‘I think it’s a marvellous pair of plays, both packed to the gunwales with entertainment, wit and ideas.

“The directors and creative crew are already cooking up some fantastic plans and I look forward to working with this year’s tremendous cast.”

As well as the performances, Pendley Plus is also making a welcome return after the success of last year.

The programme of seminars and discussions linked to this year’s plays features a Q&A with the cast and creative team after the show on both Thursdays.

Visiting academics will be giving free talks on both Sunday mornings and these are aimed at anyone with an interest in Shakespeare.

Tickets available now at www.pendleyshakespearefestival.co.uk or from July 8 on 01442 820060. For more about Pendley Plus or to book for the seminar, email plus@pendleyshakespearefestival.co.uk