This royal throne of kings, this scept’red isle…this other Eden, demi-paradise …this blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England…” (From John’o’Gaunt’s speech, in Richard II)
Stephen founded Demi-paradise Productions in 2000. The rolling ensemble of over 130 actors and creatives based in the north-west of England performed critically acclaimed sell out indoor promenade Shakespeare & other entertainments in and around the Shire Hall historic working courts complex of Lancaster Castle up until 2016. Stephen produced all of demi-paradise’s shows as well as directing Richard II; the first Measure for Measure; the premieres of Richard III On Trial for Murder and The Trial of the Pendle Witches. Stephen also engaged with contemporary artists and designers to produce all publicity material in addition to commissioning six professional artists-in-residence to interpret and record for exhibition the final three Shakespeare productions….Scroll down to see samples of their outstanding work below!
Deck the Hall with Boughs of Holly An evergreen celebration of Yuletide in words and music, played within the splendour of Shire hall’s Grade I neo-gothic courtroom to capacity houses in the run up to Christmas every year between 2000 – 2016
Ghostly Tales Intimate readings of modern and classic literary ghost stories in low lit historic rooms – drop room, medieval tower, old cells, crown court, shire hall and barristers library – proved very popular in the run up to Halloween between 2009 – 2016
Richard III On Trial for Murder Did the King have his nephews murdered in the Tower of London? Professional debut of a fascinating finely argued courtroom drama by Michael S Bennett, produced & directed by Stephen Tomlin. An interactive event set in Lancaster Castle’s Shire Hall courtroom where the audience as jury decided the verdict.
The Trial of the Pendle Witches (2012 & 2013) Rehearsed reading of a new play about the infamous 1612 witchcraft trial written by castle guide Graham Kemp, developed for performance in Shire Hall by Stephen Tomlin.
Blood Red Roses: The Dark History of Lancaster Castle, by Sue McCormick (2002) Commissioned words & music event played in criminal & civil courts of Lancaster castle.
Demi-paradise was also unique in commissioning artists-in-residence to interpret and record three of its Shakespeare productions (Much Ado, Othello & Measure for Measure). The six professional artists involved subsequently exhibited their work at galleries through NW England. Not enough space to showcase all their work but here’s a sample from each…These are followed by samples of posters and tickets commissioned by Stephen from graphic designers Andi Chapple (Merchant) Ian Steele (Richard III), portrait painter Peter Layzell (All’s Well) and with Badger Press for a special Deck the Hall, above.