AN OPEN-AIR Shakespearian theatre company is stepping up its preparations to return to the stage for the first time in three years.

Brownsea Island Open Air Theatre (BOAT) will be performing Twelfth Night on the island this summer.

The pandemic forced the registered charity to call off its shows in 2020 and 2021, but the cast and crew are looking forward to delivering a run of eight shows in July and August.

Twelfth Night is directed by Brian Woolton, a trustee of BOAT, who has appeared on stage in numerous productions, including as Hal in Henry IV, Brutus in Julius Caesar, and the title role in Pericles. In 2017 he directed As You Like It to great acclaim.

A BOAT spokesperson said: "The cast come together from a diverse range a backgrounds – recent drama school graduates, regular BOAT performers, newcomers to Shakespeare and professional entertainers.

"The cast and crew, as with everyone involved with BOAT, are unpaid volunteers who give their time and energy to raise funds for The National Trust."

Since being founded in 1964, BOAT has been supported by more than over 1,500 volunteers, entertained tens of thousands of people and raised more than £250,000 for the National Trust.

Tickets for the performance, which cost £29, include a short ferry ride from Poole Harbour to Brownsea Island and a sailing back to shore at night after the show.

"We're itching to get back to a live performance after 2 years absence," said Mr Woolton.

"Tickets went on sale on March 1 and are selling fast so it looks like it's going to be a good year for us."

For more information about the show, which is running between July 27 and August 12, visit