IT is not clear whether it is a measure of the British strength of character or the brilliance of Worcester’s outdoor Shakespeare production which means it is back for its fifth year.

Either way, come rain or shine, this year’s Shakespeare at the Commandery - the ever-popular 12th Night - seems certain to attract a huge crowd, although how to keep their attention when there’s so much else going on is another problem.

“Indoors, you can probably get 95 per cent of people’s attention,” said producer and director Chris Jaeger. “Outside you are lucky if it is 50 per cent.

“People are distracted by the sunshine, or the rain, ambulance sirens going off or being offered a sandwich or a cup of coffee.”

The trick, then, is to capture the audiences’ attention - which means Shakespeare at the Commandery is bigger and bolder than it would be were it in the confines of a regular theatre.

“You cannot be too subtle,” Jaeger explained. “You cannot have an actor raise an eyebrow in a sardonic way - 50 yards back people cannot see that. Everything needs to be pretty big and pretty obvious.

“And that’s what you get from our shows: they are funny, accessible, bawdy and just good fun.”

Indeed, Jaeger believes this year’s choice of 12th Night may just be the perfect introduction to Shakespeare: a humorous tale which is accessible to a wider audience than just those who are already familiar with the bard’s works.

“It is probably one of his funniest plays. It’s really understandable which makes it a great first one to see, because you know what is happening.

“What we are trying to do is make the language accessible for everyone. Just occasionally we put a more modern joke in so the audience understands the way Shakespeare’s mind worked - his plays are full of innuendos and full of jokes.”

And Jaeger has one further enticement for those put off by the length of some of Shakespeare’s plays.

“People who come to see it can look forward to a slightly edited version - two hour long halves - because it does get a bit cold,” he said.

Twelfth Night at The Commandery Gardens runs from Tuesday, June 7, until Saturday, June 18, (excluding Monday, June 13) at 7:30pm.

There is also a performance on Sunday, June 12, at 3pm with tickets costing £9.

Tickets cost £13.95, with family ticket at £45, while flexi ticket - which allow people to choose which performance to attend - cost £14.95.

For more details visit or call the box office on 01905 611427