About Demi-Paradise

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 Tomlin founded Demi-paradise Productions in 2000. The rolling ensemble of over 130 actors and creatives, all based in the north-west of England, performed critically acclaimed sell out promenade productions of Shakespeare & other entertainments in and around the Shire Hall historic working courts complex of Lancaster Castle from 2000-2016

‘Shakespeare is often performed outdoors in the ruins of a castle, but it is a novelty to find it performed inside one. And if the originality of promenade playing is not enough to encourage you to travel to Lancaster, then the reputation of demi-paradise productions should be…The combination of high calibre performances, skilful direction, complementary choral arrangements and a setting steeped in history is certainly a winner. No wonder tickets sell out so quickly’. (Manchester Evening News)

‘I’ve seen Shakespeare played in some unusual venues, but never in a building that is as historic, massive, distinctive & evocative as Lancaster Castle….Nine different sites were used, judiciously chosen, ranging from large, multi-level spaces to more intimate spots. This variety, as the audience travelled round to follow the fifteen scenes, highlighted the physical journey through the building imitating the emotional progress of the narrative’. (What’s On Stage)

‘Once you’ve experienced the plot unravelling in genuine court-rooms, corridors and dungeons it’s hard to imagine it back in a proscenium setting…another theatrical triumph!’ (Blackpool Evening Gazette)

‘What made the performance so magical were the setting and the intimacy of the experience as the barrier between cast and audience moved from narrow to non-existent…it all gave me the feeling of being in a play within a play as if the audience was part of the performance rather than just watching it’. (Morecambe Visitor)

Stephen 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. Artists at Work shows more samples of their work and that of our production designers. Fascinating Facts tells you some truly remarkable and extraordinary things about this unique venue as well as the way we worked within it over the years, interspersed with personal stories that touchingly illustrate our ensemble’s story.Gallery has a comprehensive selection of performance and rehearsal images. Credits & Backstage provides more rehearsal imagery with complete cast, creative and sponsor credits for all our productions at the castle between 2000 – 2016.

‘One of those theatre experiences that actually deserves the publicity line “Not to be missed”’ (North West Evening Mail)

‘I could go on at length about the music, admirable acting and deft direction, but whatever I say would not do it justice…for all round magic this was unbeatable’. (Lancaster Citizen)

‘Mention must also be made of the music that punctuated the action.  Entirely sung and played by the cast, it accompanied us as we moved between the different locations in the Castle, adding to and complementing the intensity of the plot, highlighting the dramatic tension and focusing the mind as it pondered the continuing struggle between good and evil….’ (Virtual Lancaster)

‘You are seldom likely to experience anything quite so astonishingly authentic…it all comes close to a sensory experience. It’s to be hoped demi-paradise can keep coaxing these performances out of the star of the show – the castle itself’. (Lancashire Evening Post)