Gloucestershire’s own acclaimed Festival Players head to Wales next week with their all-male tour of The Bard’s shortest tragedy, Macbeth - which they are taking across the UK and into Europe this summer.

In Shakespeare’s 450th birthday year, The Players mainly alfresco tour will see them step on stage for more than 30 performances of the great tale of superstition, ambition and retribution that is Macbeth.

On Friday, July 11 they will head to Gwent to make a return visit to the atmospheric Caerleon Roman Amphitheatre - the site of one of Britain's three permanent Roman legionary fortresses, and thought by some to be the location of King Arthur's Camelot. The show will be part of the Caerleon Arts Festival

Worcestershire-based Michael Dyer, Artistic Director of The Festival Players, and former director of Cornwall’s Minack Open Air Theatre will lead the company of their 29th year of touring. Michael, who himself will play Duncan in Macbeth will direct a small cast of seven who will punch well above their weight.

Macbeth, which some believe to be a cursed drama, referring to it only as “the Scottish play”, has been a Shakespeare favourite with audiences since it was first performed at The Globe Theatre in 1611.

Says Michael: “It is one of Shakespeare’s darkest and most powerful plays and his shortest tragedy. It takes the audience on a roller coaster ride from a ‘blasted heath’ to a Scottish castle and a moving forest. Three weird and mysterious sisters, a ghost-ridden banquet, murder, prophecies, visions and spells all meld together in a swirling cauldron of seat-edge drama.”

It will be Dyer’s tenth all-male production in a row for the Players. “It is of course totally authentic – we are following in the footsteps of Shakespeare’s own Globe Theatre when all roles were taken by men. The Players have built a reputation for strong, all-male shows over the past decade.”

Four actors who performed in the 2013 Festival Players productions of Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream are returning this year - Giles Stoakley (Antipholi of Ephesus), Christopher Finn (Lady Macbeth), Joel Daffurn (Macduff) and Paul Mills (Banquo).

They will be joined by Festival Players newcomers Matthew Springett as Macbeth and Robbie Merchant as Malcolm in Macbeth, among other roles.

The Players will also be performing a second Shakespeare play in tandem -The Comedy of Errors - performed by the same cast. By contrast, The Comedy of Errors is Shakespeare’s shortest comedy focusing on two sets of accidentally separated identical twins and awash with puns and slapstick.

Some 40 performances of The Comedy of Errors will be performed between May 31- August 31.

The inimitable Festival Players aim to make Shakespeare accessible to all and by staging Shakespeare’s shortest comedy and tragedy this summer, they definitely have audience comfort and attention spans in mind! Says Dyer: “Our shows are never longer than two hours and we always try to make them crystal clear and an amalgam of energy, entertainment and colour – we set out to take audiences of all ages on a journey and make them feel very much part of the production.”

Some of the performances will be as part of festivals including the Worcester Festival and Caerleon Arts Festival - and many of the shows will raise funds for local, national and international charities.

Tickets for the 7.30pm show are available on (01633) 422656 (Caerleon TIC) or 01633 430271, price £12 adults (£8 concessions) or a family ticket for two adults and two children for £30. Concessions apply for students, under 16s and over 60s. The gates open at 6.30pm for picnics and the audience should bring their own seats and rugs. Visit for further details.