On 19 April 1879, the Lucy family went to a very special performance of ‘As You Like It’ in Stratford. It was a little different as the performance featured one of our deer herd! The Shakespeare Blog reveals all…
As You Like It was in the very first season of plays performed at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in April-May 1879. With its references to the Forest of Arden the gently romantic comedy was bound to please. The other Shakespeares in Barry Sullivan’s season were the sure-fire comedy Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet. But it was As You Like It, given just two performances, that created the biggest impression, and a couple of reports of the closing performance on 3 May still exist.
The other account was written by Sarah Flower, the wife of Charles Edward Flower, the chairman of the theatre. “Some of the actors went to Charlecote and asked Mr Lucy if he would let them have a deer from his park – he readily assented, and it was brought on this evening – his keepers and some dogs also appearing on the stage.
It was put into the mouth of one of the keepers that he said boastingly “Lots of people come from all round the country and even from London to see me and my dogs”. The deer was afterwards stuffed and kept as a property slung up in the picture gallery to be used always in this play. ”