Welcome to the Demi-Paradise Website!

Past: Demi-paradise Productions was established by actor Stephen Tomlin as the first ever resident professional theatre company for Lancaster Castle. Between 2000 and 2016 his rolling ensemble of northern based actors and creatives presented critically acclaimed and hugely popular promenade productions of Shakespeare along with other entertainments.

Present: Following his move to live permanently in Northumberland from 2017, Stephen reconstituted Demi-paradise as a small scale touring company specialising in bespoke seasonal entertainments. HauntedGhost Stories for Halloween and Winter Warmer A Celebration of Christmas in Words and Music were launched during 2018.

Future: Haunted returns by popular demand this autumn with three new ghost stories on an extended run which includes three exciting new venues! See the Haunted page for details. Winter Warmer, our words and music celebration of Christmas in association with female acapella singers LOKA, played Dumfries Theatre Royal in December 2018. We are planning a rural tour of the show and will bring you further news as it happens.


This royal throne of kings, this sceptered isle…This other Eden, demi-paradise… (Richard II)

Othello scene in Shire Hall

Othello company in Shire Hall

Demi-paradise staged 10 full scale productions of Shakespeare’s plays in and around the castle’s Shire Hall working law courts complex. They all used live music and song except Othello, which had a specially composed electronic soundtrack by MD Lee Affen. Later productions were rendered especially memorable in being interpreted and recorded by professional artists-in-residence whose work was later shown at the Dukes Theatre Lancaster, Hexham Queens Hall, Lancaster University and Theatre by the Lake Keswick.

MoV Jessica & Lorenzo

Merchant of Venice: Jessica (Kate Gilbert ) & Lorenzo (Lewis Marsh)

The company’s interpretations of Richard II (2000), Measure for Measure (2001) Macbeth (2002), All’s Well That Ends Well (2004), Richard III (2006), Hamlet (2008), The Merchant of Venice (2010), Much Ado About Nothing (2012), Othello (2014) and Measure for Measure (2016) all reflected the building’s ancient role as royal fortress, prison, court, asylum and seat of government.

MAAN Comic plotters med

Much Ado…Don Pedro (Richard Sails) Leonato¬†(David Frederickson) and Claudio (Adam Jowett)

In recognition of this demi-paradise was runner up in 2008 for the hotly contested Equity Ensemble Prize, one of the Peter Brook/Empty Space Awards, judged by national newspaper critics, presented in London to UK fringe theatres otherwise unsupported by public funds.

Hamlet King&Queen med

Hamlet: Gertrude (Sarah Thurstan) & Claudius (Simon Kirk)

Due to the restricted sizes of the playing spaces – two working law courts, corridors, landings, barristers library, ancient cells & medieval tower – audience capacity was limited to 60 ticket holders for each performance.

MAAN Hadrians Tower Matt Music

Much Ado About Nothing: Conrad (Matthew Ganley) in Hadrian’s Tower

Royal Command Performance

The company was commissioned by Buckingham Palace to welcome The Queen as Duke of Lancaster on her last visit to the castle, in 2015. Stephen Tomlin as director introduced and set the action, an extract from Act I Scene 2 of Richard II, played out on the steps of the castle’s Norman keep. HM afterwards expressed herself delighted with the entertainment and felt the castle ideal for the performance of Shakespeare, an opinion widely shared with our successive casts, creatives and audiences!

Richard II : Duke of Lancaster (George Telfer) & Duke of York (Robert Garrett)