photograph of Richard Nisbet

With deep sadness this message bears unhappy news, our dear friend Richard Nisbet passed away this morning.

Richard was in hospital for several weeks and saw many visitors, he got a lot of loving energy from everyone, then spending the last few days in the loving care of his family.

Richard has touched the lives of so many people with his kindness, his love, his desire to let anyone who wished to perform do so, what a beautiful theatre he created for everyone; Shakespeare at Traquair has always been his baby. He is the pied piper, he is peter pan, he is the blue bird and the light and exuberance shone from him and we follow along in his footsteps.

When Richard talked about Shakespeare at Traquair he would stand up and trace out the course of a river and he would say, life is like a river with its twists and turns, with the water and the pebbles and how each of us were the many pebbles, and that the river would not exist if all these elements were not here together. He appreciated the collaboration, the performers, the production, the audiences, the friends, the surroundings, and everything that came together to make this special enchanting community.

He will always be a part of us and will be truly missed.


On behalf of the Shakespeare at Traquair community

Celebration of the Life of Richard Nisbet
11th August, Eastgate Theatre

As you know we lost Richard Nisbet, the founder and guiding light of Shakespeare at Traquair, in May and his family and friends are organising a celebration of Richard’s life and the huge contribution he made to the local and wider community and to many of us personally.

The celebration of Richard’s life will take place at the Eastgate Theatre, Peebles, on Sunday 11th August. Doors will open at 2.00pm, with a planned start at 2.30pm. Food and drinks will be available and the event will end between 4.00pm and 5.00pm.

Richard asked four people to speak and of course we will all be able to share our memories with each other. There will also be photographs and videos (with accompanying music) supplied by family and friends, including his roles in Shakespeare at Traquair.

Please note that our outdoor performances are in the grounds of Traquair House. The performances take place whatever the weather, so come prepared with suitable clothing and footwear. Our plays begin at 7.30 promptly, so make sure you have time to park your car and walk to the start of our play.

Shakespeare at Traquair is a vibrant community-based drama group, which has put on 27 annual open air promenade productions in the stunning grounds of Traquair House (Scottish Borders) since 1995. Like Shakespeare’s own company, our actors, costumiers, make-up artists, stage management and production team have other professions, but their passion and commitment to performing Shakespeare’s words never fails to entertain large cohorts of followers.

Our Production page has details of all our productions. In 2018 and 2019 our promenade productions were Much Ado About Nothing and Love’s Labour’s Lost, whilst our youngsters performed The Taming of the Shrew and Much Ado About Nothing at the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe. Due to Covid we had to delay A Midsummer Night’s Dream to 2022, performed Richard III in 2023 and will be performing The Merchant of Venice in 2024.

The Merchant of Venice (2024)

In 2024 we will perform The Merchant of Venice, which we last staged in 2004. and will be directed by David Bon.

Tickets are now on sale from the Tickets can be bought online, by visiting the Eastgate Theatre box office or by calling 01721 725777. Wed/Thur £12/£10 and Fri/Sat £14/£12.

Full details are available here.

The main cast auditions and young people workshops have taken place and the rehearsals have started. 

Richard III (2023)

Leah Moorhouse directed Richard III, which ran from Wednesday 31st May to Saturday 3rd June and Wednesday 7th June to Saturday 10th June.

More details are available here.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2022)

Our promenade plays returned to the beautiful grounds of Traquair House in June 2022, with our delayed production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Tom Hudson. This year’s setting took us back to the carefree, permissive 1960’s where just about everything that can hang out will be hanging out. More details, including photographs and video are available here.

Iced Gems

Shakespeare at Traquair’s Kath Mansfield, who directed Romeo and Juliet in 2011 and has appeared in many other of our productions, has contributed to Iced Gems: An anthology of stories, poems and reflections. With contributions from four other authors, the anthology is available on Amazon in Kindle, hardback and paperback formats.

Hamlet and Macbeth (2021)

After the events that rather shook up 2020, 2021 was always going to be different.  And things were different for Shakespeare at Traquair as it replaced the planned promenade performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with a sit down offering of two of the Bard’s best known comedies, Hamlet and Macbeth.  Yep, you read that correctly – Hamlet and Macbeth, comedies.

These 50 minute, knockabout versions first saw the light of day at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2015 and 2016 and were dusted down, the jokes updated (out go references to Brexit and Donald Trump, so passé, darlings) and a cast put through its paces in a hectic six week rehearsal period prior to sold out performances from Monday 21st-Friday 25th June.

Thanks to the cast, production crew and everyone who turned up to watch our outstanding your cast. Videos and photographs of the performances will be available soon.

Love’s Labour’s Lost (2019)

Love’s Labour’s Lost was Shakespeare at Traquair’s main stage production for 2019 and was directed by Tim Wilcock. The play sees self-denial in fashion at the court of Navarre where the young king and three of his courtiers forswear all pleasures in favour of serious study. But when the dazzling Princess of France and her entourage arrive, inconvenient promises are quickly ditched in favour of some ham-fisted wooing.

Love's Labour's Lost Poster

Download a PDF file of our Love’s Labour’s Lost poster.

Shakespeare Shorts (2018)

Following sell-outs in 2015 and 2016, Shakespeare at Traquair were back up to Edinburgh for Fringe 2018.  Mix fourteen young actors, a couple of Shakespeare plays, some creative editing and you’ve all the ingredients for two shows that will appeal to anyone from age 5 upwards. Out talented young cast performed rewritten and shortened versions of The Taming of the Shrew and Much Ado About Nothing, written by director Tim Wilcock.

Both plays were initially performed back to back at the Eastgate Theatre (Friday 15th June) and Carlops Village Hall (Saturday 16th June).The Fringe shows were performed at theSpaceUK Niddry Street (Venue 9), with he Taming of the Shrew  on the 3rd, 6th, 8th and 10th August and Much Ado About Nothing on 4th, 7th, 9th and 11th August.

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Much Ado About Nothing (2018)

Much Ado About Nothing poster

Much Ado About Nothing is a light-hearted romp set in Italy, telling the story of Benedict and Beatrice, Claudio and Hero and a raft of other characters. It was last performed by Shakespeare at Traquair 15 years ago, so we were delighted to be doing it again. Scott Noble, one of the original cast from 2003, directed the play.

  • Wednesday 30th May to Saturday 2nd June
  • Wednesday 6th June to Saturday 9th June

Pre-performance meals were available from the Garden Café, which is found in the beautiful Walled Garden at Traquair House. For further details about this excellent café please phone (01896 830323) or visit the café’s website.

More details, including photographs, about Much Ado About Nothing are available here.

Get Involved

We are a friendly, inclusive group and welcome people of all ages who would like to act or help behind the scenes. Our main summer productions involved adults and children, but we also have children only shows.

Past Productions

We have a large archive of past productions, at Traquair House and others at the Eastgate Theatre and elsewhere.

Richard III (2023)

Photograph of Richard III jsut after seeing the ghosts as he is given his sword by Ratcliffe.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2022)

Love’s Labour’s Lost (2019)

Love's Labour's Lost

Much Ado About Nothing (2018)

Beatrice, Benedick and Ursula

The Winter’s Tale (2017)

The Taming of the Shrew (2016)

Petruchio and Kate (Taming of the Shrew 2016)

Hamlet (2015)

Hamlet and Ophelia (Hamlet 2015)

Comedy of Errors (2014)

Dromio and Dromio (The Comedy of Errors 2014)

King Lear (2013)

King Lear and Gloucester (King Lear 2013)