Gary Wilmot, in his first professional Shakespearean role, plays 'Bottom' in A Midsummer Night's Dream which opens the 2001 season at the Open Air Theatre (previews from 4 June, opens 11 June). Director Alan Strachan returns to take a fresh look at last year's successful production. Rebecca Callard (who at 18 played Juliet in Judi Dench's 1993 Open Air Theatre production of Romeo and Juliet) plays 'Hermia'. The cast also includes Rebecca Johnson as Titania, Martin Turner as Oberon, Candida Benson as Helena, Benedict Cumberbateh as Demetrius and Gideon Turner as Lysander. Paul Kemp returns to play Puck.

Love's Labour's Lost (previews from 6 June, opens 15 June) is directed by Rachel Kavanaugh. Elegant wit and verbal trickery combine with a romantic celebration of love as four well-intentioned, but ultimately misguided, young men discover the impossibility of denying true love. The cast includes Christopher Godwin as Don Armado, Adrian Schiller as Berowne, Rebecca Johnson as Rosaline, with Rebecca Callard as Maria and Lottie Mayor as Katherine. The Princess of France is played by Candida Benson and Ferdinand, King of Navarre by Benedict Cumberbatch. Kit Surrey is the designer for both Shakespeare productions.

lan Talbot, Artistic Director of the New Shakespeare Company, directs this season's musical - Where's Charley? with music & lyrics by Frank Loesser and book by George Abbott, based on Brandon Thomas' Charley's Aunt (previews from 24 July, opens 26 July). Receiving its first professional production since it played in London in 1958 with Norman Wisdom, Where's Charley? is a Broadway take on a quintessentially English comedy-farce of mistaken identities. Musical numbers include 'Once in Love with Amy' and 'My Darling, My Darling". Cameron Biakely plays Charley with Lottie Mayor as Amy.

Joseph Papp's Broadway version of Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance returns to the Open Air Theatre for a limited run from 27 August, prior to a major UK tour. The acclaimed 2000 production was nominated for three Olivier awards including Outstanding Musical Production and tan Talbot for Best Director. Casting to be announced. The same creative team work on both musical productions: Terry Parsons is the Designer, the Musical Director is Catherine Jayes and the Choreographer is Gillian Gregory.

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