More than 650 people turned out for the opening night of Much Ado About Nothing at Ludlow Castle as this year's Ludlow Festival got under way.
The open-air production of the Shakespeare comedy, directed by Charlie Walker-Wise and re-set during Second World War, proved a big hit with people of all ages turning out in numbers on Saturday night despite steady rain throughout the evening.
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And organisers hope crowds continue to visit in numbers for the play, with performances due to be held every evening except Sundays during the two-week festival,with matinee performances on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
The festival began earlier in the day with a full peal of bells at St Laurence's Church. There was also morris dancing in Castle Square and an organ recital and choral evensong in St Laurence's Church.
A number of activities also took place as part of the Ludlow Festival Fringe, including tours of Ludlow Brewery, animation workshops at Ludlow Assembly Rooms and open mic poetry at the Globe.
It was an action paced start to the festival, which will also include actress Miriam Margolyes perform her one-woman Dickens' Women show at Ludlow Assembly Rooms on Friday. The show has already sold out. Other highlights include Fron Male Voice Choir, Only Fools and Horses actor John Challis and a grand finale with fireworks at Ludlow Castle on July 8 featuring tribute acts Bjorn Again and Killer Queen.
Saturday night's performance of Much Ado About Nothing provided plenty of laughs for the audience.
Stand out performances came from Matthew Douglas as the pompous and humorous bachelor Benedick and Wayne Cater as the hapless Dogberry.
By Peter Kitchen