A theatre director who is helping bring a ‘Summer of Shakespeare’ to Durham this summer has received a surprise letter inviting him to a performance of the Bard at Windsor Castle – with the King.
Durham-based Elysium Theatre Company, Durham Fringe Festival and Durham University are coming together for the first time to bring a variety of Shakespeare’s plays to life to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the first publication of The Bard’s ‘First Folio’.
Jake Murray, Artistic Director at Elysium, will enjoy a surprise performance of one of Britain’s greatest ever playwrights’ works on July 18, alongside King Charles III and Queen Camilla.
Jake Murray said:
“This really is the most incredible news.
“To be recognised in this way for my dedication to staging work by the greatest playwright to have ever lived is extremely humbling.
“I have always believed that Shakespeare can be enjoyed by anyone and have always tried to bring The Bard’s works to those who otherwise might not get to see them.
“That is what this festival, and indeed the ‘Summer of Shakespeare’, is all about: it is very much for the people of Durham and the North East.
“We want to bring Shakespeare to them in a way which is dynamic, exciting, and accessible. That is our dream. Our company mixes Durham and North East actors with others from around the world. We couldn’t be more excited.
“To have the work we are doing recognised by the Palace tells me we must be doing something right.
“Finding out about the invite to Windsor Castle was so surreal. We were on a lunch break in-between rehearsals when I received a phone call from my stepdaughter, Freya.
“She told me a letter had arrived for me from Buckingham Palace, and asked if I would like her to open it for me. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing!
“I am so excited to attend this very special performance and look forward to meeting the King and talking about our mutual love of the great man!”