THE Hillbark Players will stage William Shakespeare's The Tempest - their first production since the pandemic - at a 500-seat open air theatre in the woods at Royden Park later year.

Directed by Martin Riley, this production of play written by the bard towards the end of his life - featuring a combination of comedy, tragedy and romance - will be staged from June 20-25. 

Caroline Watkinson, publicity officer from the Hillbark Players, told the Globe: "Though Covid may seem to have taken its toll upon so many aspects of our lives, better days will soon be here, because from June 20-25 2022 Hillbark Players will be building a 500-seat open air theatre in the woods in Royden Park.

"There you will be able to enjoy a summers evening, perhaps a picnic and a glass of wine as the players entertain you with arguably one of Shakespeare’s most finely-crafted plays."

Wirral Globe:

Above and below: Castmembers of 'The Tempest'. Picture: Caroline Watkinson

Wirral Globe:

Caroline Watkinson continued: "The production's director Martin Riley is an established actor having played several big Hillbarker roles and has also directed 'Much Ado About Nothing' in 2015 and 'Shakespeare in War & Peace' in 2018.

"Martin was awarded a NODA nomination in 2016 for Best Supporting Actor (Henry V) and in 2018 for Best Director (Goodnight Mr. Tom).

"We have lots of great talent in this production with Carl Howard playing the usurped Duke of Milan and magician Prospero and Charles Riley playing the dispossessed islander Caliban.

"Hillbark regulars Simon and Pauline Garland play the comedy duo Trinculo and Stephano whilst the brilliant Mark Prescott is playing Alonso!

Wirral Globe:

Castmember of 'The Tempest' in rehearsal. Picture: Caroline Watkinson

Caroline Watkinson added: "Charles and Mark have been nominated for NODA awards multiple times with Mark receiving the Best Actor Award for his portrayal of Fagan.

"Hillbark Players are the company who have brought you open-air Shakespeare on the Wirral since 1964 and we are proud of our history of supporting the arts on Wirral.

"Our company will sprinkle its magic and deliver some of the finest performers in the region, undercover seating and theatre quality sound and lighting.

"We don’t stop there … Steampunk and Shakespeare combine in Royden Park that week! True to the Steampunk ethos we will add and then add some more!

"Additionally, Hillbark Players have always been keen to invest in the education of Shakespeare and involve local schools in the production.

"In recent years we have sold out our midweek schools’ matinée for children from 10 to 18."

Wirral Globe:

Cast of 'The Tempest' in rehearsal. Picture: Caroline Watkinson

"The Hillbark Committee are working hard to constantly give cast and crew a Covid secure space to rehearse and we are confident that by June we will be able to provide a safe outdoor environment for vaccinated people once again to enjoy theatre in the open air.

"In the meantime, much work is being undertaken to ensure that the planning for costumes, props and set design is complete and of our usual high standard.

We are looking forward to welcoming our loyal patrons back to Royden Park to support local theatre springing back to life! Help us, help Wirral get theatre back to where it should be!

More information can be found on social media: Instagram, Twitter and Facebook or the Hillbark Players website:

Tickets are now on sale from or the Floral Pavilion on 0151 666 0000