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Second Thoughts Celebrate 40th with Twelfth Night

Second Thoughts Drama Group are celebrating their 40th anniversary by performing Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, at the Bear Pit Theatre, Rother Street, Stratford, from 3 – 6 July. Also, an outdoor performance at the Great Garden in the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s New Place on 14 July.



Forty years ago, a small group of drama lovers got together to create a different style of drama group– one run by its members, not by a committee. Forty years on, Second Thoughts are celebrating their 40th anniversary with Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, a classic tale of yellow trousers and outrageous love triangles- and it still doesn’t have a committee! Instead, Second Thoughts has monthly meetings, open to any and all of their members, and every member has the right to propose and vote for the play of their choice.  

One of Shakespeare’s most famous comedies, Twelfth Night is filled with cases of mistaken identities - and gender, as twins Viola and Sebastian are split up after a shipwreck. While Viola decides to cross-dress to find work within high society, Sebastian tries to find Viola- only to be constantly mistaken for her, all the while the courtiers Orsino and Olivia and their servants get their wires crossed in love.

However, rather than follow tradition, Second Thoughts are putting their own twist on Twelfth Night by setting it in the 1960s - a celebratory and vivid decade of new freedoms, peace, funky fashion trends, and great music. A decade when man first stepped on the moon. A decade when anything seemed possible!

The cast and crew at rehearsals. Photo courtesy of Second Thoughts.

And somewhere along the Mediterranean shores lies Orsino’s Beach Café and Bar! Director Amanda Laidler (Arms and The Man) leads a cast of 15, including Georgina Monk, Stephanie Jephson, Christa Gaskell, Noel Dollimore, Ian McLean, Tim Raistrick, Chloe Wiltshire, Gill Hines, Michael Thompsett, Paige Hopper, Samantha Nicholas, Edythe Wurtzler, Nic Walsh, and Bernard Hall. 

As well as running at The Bear Pit on the 3-6 July, the cast and production team are also heading outdoors for a special one-off performance for their big anniversary at the Great Garden in the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s New Place on 14 July! This will give audiences the chance to see one of Shakespeare’s plays where he once lived.

Audience members should bring their own folding chairs or rugs to sit on, and some waterproof clothing, just in case! They are welcome to bring picnics or refreshments and there will be soft drinks, wine and ice cream available to purchase. Tickets for Twelfth Night can be booked at, on 0333 666 3366, or on the door from one hour before the performance, for £14 (£12 concession).


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