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  One of the UK's largest community run theatres

T.A.O.D.S. Present a Summer Spectacular

The Merchant of Venice
by William Shakespeare

UNTIL THIS SATURDAY ONLY

Shakespeare's Classic Tragi-Romantic-Comedy comes to the Hippodrome stage, Summer 2018. Directed by Liz Holland who gave us the award winning A Midsummer Night's Dream in 2015

A Debt

Antonio, the Merchant of Venice, lends three thousand ducats to his friend Bassanio in order to assist him in his wooing of the wealthy and beautiful Portia of Belmont, an estate some distance from Venice.

Antonio's own money is tied up in business ventures that depend on the safe return of his ships from sea, so he borrows the money from Shylock, a Jewish moneylender whom he has previously insulted for his high rates of interest.

Shylock lends the money against a bond. Failure to repay the loan on the agreed date will entitle Shylock to a pound of Antonio's flesh.

The Jewish Money-lender, Shylock (Richard Holley) in discussion with Tubal (Vaughan Leslie)

Antonio (Mark Tunstall - Centre) is surrounded by his merchant colleagues (Gavin Roberts, Brendan Barclay, James Claxton & Emma Stafford) as they jeer at the Jew, Shylock (Richard Holley)

Shylock's daughter Jessica (Hannah Sutcliffe) is in love with Lorenzo (Brendan Barclay) but can she escape the prying eyes of the Jewish Ghetto (represented by Lucy Anderson)?

A Marriage

Portia's father has decreed that she will marry whichever suitor makes the correct choice when presented with three caskets, made of gold, silver and lead.

Where wealthy suitors from Morocco and Aragon fail, Bassanio succeeds by choosing lead. His friend Gratiano marries Portia's lady-in-waiting Nerissa at the same time.

News arrives that Antonio's ships have been lost; he is unable to pay his debt.


Portia (Justine Sutcliffe) has eyes for loverboy Bassanio (Steven Hooper)


Gobbo (Paul Robinson) and Old Gobbo (Anthony Peter) meet, but will blind father recognise his own flesh and blood?

To win Portia's heart, Bassanio (Steven Hooper) must choose between 3 caskets. Which will it be? Gold, Silver or Lead?

A Trial
Shylock's claim to his pound of flesh is heard in the law court before the duke.

Unknown to their husbands, Portia disguises herself as a young male lawyer acting on behalf of Antonio, Nerissa as a clerk.

Portia argues that Shylock is entitled to his pound of flesh but not to spill any of Antonio's blood. She also says that the Jew should forfeit his life for having conspired against the life of a Venetian.

A Happier time for the merchants as Salanio (Gavin Roberts), Antonio (Mark Tunstall) and Salarino (Emma Stafford) discuss trade

Bassanio (Steven Hooper) fears for his friend Antonio (Mark Tunstall) in his deal with Shylock (Richard Holley)

As the Duke (Janet Spooner) demands payment from Antonio (Mark Tunstall), can his defence (Sam Garforth and Justine Sutcliffe) save his beating heart?