Tim Wilcock running rehearsals in the Walled Garden at Traquair House
Tim Wilcock running rehearsals at Traquair House

Hamlet and Macbeth (2021)

This year we’re putting on two of Shakespeare’s well-known comedies – Hamlet and Macbeth! These fun shows are based on our sell out Fringe shows from 2015 and 2016 (updated to include all that has happened in the last fifteen months!) and will be socially safe seated performances.

Directed and written by Tim Wilcock
Assistant Director Tom Hudson

  • Monday 21st to Friday 25th June 2021
  • 7.30 pm start (finish 9.45 pm)
  • Seated performance with interval

After the events that rather shook up 2020, 2021 was always going to be different.  And things are different this year for Shakespeare at Traquair as it’s replacing 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 have been 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 performances from Monday 21st-Friday 25th June, 7.30pm start, at Traquair House, Innerleithen. Tickets must be bought in advance from the Eastgate Theatre.

In Hamlet, we find that the eponymous hero has the hump.  His Uncle Claudius has bumped off his Dad and married his Mum, who’s a bit too fond of the bottle.  Girlfriend Ophelia won’t listen to a word he says to her and his best mate, Horatio, keeps seeing ghosts.  No wonder Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are confused.  Mysteries, murders and some magical music abound in this intriguing take on Shakespeare’s longest play.

Macbeth sees the eponymous hero afraid of his missus, three witches that think they’re on Masterchef and murderers who want Banquo’s head on a platter. With Lady Macbeth getting ever more power crazed and deranged (remind you of anyone?), can Macduff save Scotland from itself?  Come prepared to save your nation!

Both plays stay true to their plots, mix modern language and Shakespearian text which, when you throw in a good dollop of melodrama, some physical theatre and mime, means they’re accessible to anyone aged 7 and above.  Bring a snack, a picnic, a Fortnum’s hamper with copious quantities of caviar and champagne or just yourselves and we’ll park you and your party at an appropriate social distance on seating of the highest quality – well, a plastic chair of some description – and enjoy an evening of fun and frivolity.  Real, live theatre – in the raw!

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. In 2021, our performances will be seated and social distancing rules will apply.