A Merseyside arts festival is asking budding writers to take inspiration from William Shakespeare, in the 400th year since the death of the great playwright.
The Prescot Festival of Music & the Arts has chosen ‘in a pickle’ as the theme for its annual short story contest, now in its fifth year. The phrase was first documented in the tragicomedy The Tempest, likely Shakespeare’s final play.
Shakespeare has a special connection to Prescot—he counted among his rich patrons the Fifth Earl of Derby, whose family seat to this day is Knowsley Hall in the town. And Prescot made national news this March when Shakespeare North’s project to build an Elizabethan theatre and college in the town received local and central government funding to the tune of £11 million.
During festival week (17—26 June 2016), the brilliantly entertaining MATE Productions will be performing ‘pop-up Shakespeare’ (Sunday 19 June at the Prescot Carnival), and musical theatre company BOST will doff its cap to the Bard with selections from Kiss Me Kate and West Side Story—based on The Taming of the Shrew and Romeo & Juliet, respectively—in its Songs from the Shows concert on Saturday 25 June.
Other highlights of this year’s Prescot Festival include Swingshift Big Band, Nigel Ogden of BBC Radio 2’s The Organist Entertains, and a ‘come-and-sing’ performance of Mozart’s Requiem by the Prescot Festival Chorus.
Full programme information, as well as details on how to enter the 2016 Prescot Festival Short Story Competition (deadline 30 May), is online at www.prescotfestival.co.uk.