PEOPLE are being invited to a couple's back garden in the Meon Valley to enjoy a performance among the flowers for a good cause.

Swanmore couple Mike and Jenny Maunder are reviving their popular Shakespeare in the Garden event after it was put on hold due to the pandemic.

The Villagers Open Air Shakespeare Group will perform Love Labour’s Lost on Saturday July 23, from 7.30pm, with all proceeds going towards the neonatal intensive care unit at Portsmouth’s Queen Alexandra Hospital.

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Host Jenny said: “We started it basically because our grandson was born prematurely and one of the first things my daughter said when we left the hospital was what are we going to do to for them? How are we going to say thank you? And looking at their room they certainly didn’t need any more wine or chocolates so I said just buy a card and say they haven’t heard the last of us.

Hampshire Chronicle: The Villagers Open Air Shakespeare Group performing in 2021

“Within just a couple of months of him being born, I realised we would raise funds using the garden and what better than Shakespeare in the Garden.”

Jenny and her husband Mike hosted their first show back in 2011 and have since raised money from the annual event for vital equipment within the neonatal intensive care unit. The unit support babies like their grandson who are born prematurely.

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Jenny is hoping that they can exceed £2,500, the value raised in the last show in 2019.

The gates to the family gardens will open at 6pm to more than 100 visitors who are welcome to bring their own picnic, drink and chairs.

Mike added: “Anyone who likes a good Shakespeare play done in the best traditions, enjoyed in a cordial relaxed atmosphere should come along.

“People bring along their food and drink and cheers and sit along our top lawn. The actors perform in amongst the flowers so it’s a very easy-going relaxed atmosphere. It’s to have a good evening out and support what we think is a very good cause.”

The Villagers group from Gosport formed in 1986, after a conversation over the vegetable counter at Waitrose. Here it was decided that the recreated 17th Century village Little Woodham would be an ideal location for a Shakespeare play, where the amateur actors still perform today. With a total of 25 people covering acting and production, members come from all walks of life.

The performers have since expanded to bring Shakespeare to various south eastern locations like Buckler's Hard in the New Forest, the Old Rectory in Wickham as well as Jenny and Mike’s Hill Farm House in Swanmore. All profits from their productions go to local charities.

Leader of The Villagers Open Air Shakespeare Group, Ian Wright said: "It's wonderful. The hosts are fantastic people and we're delighted to support their cause. The audience at Hill Farm House is always lovely and responsive."

To find out more about The Villagers Open Air Shakespeare Group go to, visit:

Tickets for to the comedy at Hill Farm House in Droxford Road, cost £12 and £6 for under 16s. To purchase a ticket contact Jenny Maunder on 07803 299973.


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