Welcome to our 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 120 northern based actors and creatives presented critically acclaimed and hugely popular promenade productions of Shakespeare along with other annual entertainments.
Recent: Following his move to live permanently in Northumberland from 2017, Stephen reconstituted Demi-paradise as a small scale touring company specialising in seasonal and themed entertainments. Haunted – Ghost Stories for Halloween and Winter Warmer – A Celebration of Yuletide in Words & Music were subsequently launched during the course of 2018.
Future: Haunted returns by popular demand this autumn with further ghost story readings on an extended run embracing new cultural venues….See the Haunted page for details. Winter Warmer, in association with female acapella singers LOKA, returns to Dumfries Theatre Royal in December. We are also planning a rural tour of the show and will bring you news as it happens.
Spring: Writing a Country Diary: An Evening with Susie White. On Saturday 27th April we’re producing our first cross cultural collaboration. Susie White will be talking about and taking questions on her career as a garden writer and NGS organiser. Stephen Tomlin will be reading from Susie’s regular contributions to The Guardian’s celebrated ‘Country Diary’ column. It all takes place in the intimate setting of Sarah Robinson-Gay’s Georgian house gallery & will compliment exciting new artwork being showcased there during this year’s Hexham Book Festival….More details nearer the time.
Summer: We return to Newcastle’s most venerable and best loved arts institute, the Lit & Phil with three more ghost stories, part of a varied week long literary festival, Summer Spooks, marking the magical days of mid-summer. Date: Thursday 27th June.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF
This royal throne of kings, this sceptered isle…This other Eden, demi-paradise… (Richard II)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!