Glittering gala night marks 40 years of Tolethorpe

Tolethorpe Hall, Stamford Shakespeare Company production of Macbeth. Laurence and  Chris Howard (Lord Lt Rutland) with  Sarah and Peter Furness (High sheriff of Rutland) with Kevin Burke, stilt man EMN-160708-102721009

Tolethorpe Hall, Stamford Shakespeare Company production of Macbeth. Laurence and Chris Howard (Lord Lt Rutland) with Sarah and Peter Furness (High sheriff of Rutland) with Kevin Burke, stilt man EMN-160708-102721009

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Stamford Shakespeare Company celebrated 40 years of Tolethorpe on Saturday with a special gala evening.

Macbeth was the first production during Tolethorpe’s opening season in 1977 so it was only right that be the performance enjoyed on Saturday evening by a sold-out audience, who all enjoyed a glass of champagne to celebrate the occasion.

Ahead of the show itself, there was entertainment including jugglers, jesters, magicians and minstrels, and thankfully the weather was sunny and bright enough so the crowds who had not opted for a meal in the restaurant, could enjoy a picnic in the grounds beforehand - as is tradition for many Tolethorpe goers.

Dignitaries at the performance including the Right Honorable Lord Quentin Davies - a patron of the company - along with his wife Chantal, the Lord Lieutenant of Rutland Dr Laurence Howard and the High Sheriff of Rutland Dr Sarah Furness.

The sons of company founder Jean Harley - Jonathan and Justin - were also there as was Alan Butland from Shakespeare’s Globe.

David Fensom, marketing manager, said: “It was a wonderful evening to celebrate 40 years of incredible Tolethorpe performances. The weather was lovely and we couldn’t have asked for it to have gone any better. The feedback all throughout the season has been excellent and again the cast and crew didn’t disappoint on Saturday.”

So far this season, Tolethorpe has welcomed more than 32,000 visitors to enjoy Macbeth and the company’s other two shows for 2016 - The Tempest and Wind in the Willows, which was completely sold out until its last week.

Tickets are still on sale for shows until the end of August. Visit http://stamfordshakespeare.co.uk to book.