Settle in for Shakespeare in the park

Dramatic shots from one of last year's Bard in the Botanics productions
Dramatic shots from one of last year's Bard in the Botanics productions

Load up the weather forecast — it’s that time of year once again.

No, not T in the Park...and not an excuse to sit in the beer garden watching the World Cup.

It’s the return of Bard in the Botanics — and another season of praying that the weather holds off for Glasgow’s own Shakespeare in the park.

This year’s programme includes some of the bard’s biggest hitters — kicking off with a comedy with a contemporary (and rather timely) 

The Comedy of Errors opens on June 27 (following previews this Wednesday and Thursday).

Artistic director Gordon Barr commented: “In the play, characters from Syracuse are forbidden to come to Ephesus on pain of death because of strained relations between the two countries.

“For this new production, we’re imagining Ephesus as a post-independence Scotland and Syracuse as England.

“The production will take a cheeky look at strained English-Scottish relations as witnessed in the lead up to this autumn’s referendum.”

Jennifer Dick’s take on Henry V follows on July 18, with a large-scale cast assembled from core Botanics members and Motherwell and Coatbridge college students, as well as senior students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Marking this year’s centenary, the production will pay tribute to the soldiers who fought in World War One.

Gordon Barr explained: “It’s fitting that the students will be appearing alongside Daniel Campbell (playing the title role), who we first met during a Bard in the Botanics Shakespeare workshop at Coatbridge College.

“We were so impressed with Daniel that we invited him to be part of our Emerging Artists programme in 2012 and two years later he will be taking on one of the main parts.”

Barr will also be directing a streamlined version of Henry IV parts one and two — the first time that a professional production has been staged in Scotland for over 40 years.

Topping it all off is Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy, Hamlet, staged by Wilderness of Tigers as part of the Emerging Artists scheme.

The Shakespeare fest kicks off in full next Friday, and runs until August 2, with productions and times varying throughout.

For full listings and ticket info, call 429 0022 or visit — and pray the rain holds off long enough.