An historic house and gardens, a cracking local cast, and some beautiful summer evenings - that’s just how Dedham Players like it.

And they’ve been doing it since 1995, which makes you wonder why they don’t do it every year.

Jenny Burke, chair of the theatre group, as well as the director of their latest production, explains: “At the time there were other local open air shows and I suspect we didn’t want to crowd the market.

“But it also means the creative team can have a breather between each one and there’s also bit more anticipation from our audiences.”

There will perhaps be even more this time around because summer 2018 marks the first time the Dedham Players have put on a Shakespeare.

“I don’t think it’s been deliberate,” Jenny adds, “it’s just we’ve always tried to do something a little different to everyone else. From commedia dell’ arte to the English restoration comedy, each has incorporated our unique style of presentation, and this show will be no exception.”

As You Like It is one of Shakespeare’s early plays, a light-hearted, charming comedy set in an enchanted forest, which contains one of the most used quotes of all of the Bard’s work.

In terms of casting, the Dedham Players latest production almost reads like a who’s who of the local theatre scene with Connor McBurney, Elly Kent-Dyson, Ivy Dillon, David Elliott, Martyn Rayner and Rachel Culley, not to forget Paul Reed and Joe Sales straight from their triumphant turns as Jeeves and Wooster at the Headgate Theatre last week.

Jenny says: “I’ve been very fortunate to have some wonderful old faces return as well as some new ones. I think there’s an assumption Dedham is this far off place so it might prove problematic but when they turn up for their first rehearsal, they always say it’s a lot closer than they first thought.

“It’s our first Shakespeare and I sincerely hope our audience will appreciate our interpretation of this charming play.”

As You Like It runs at Castle House, home of the Munnings Art Museum, on Castle Hill, Dedham, from July 4 to 7.

Gates open at 6pm giving audiences the opportunity to bring their picnics, before the performance starts at 8pm.

Tickets are £15, available from