The Stahl Theatre opened the new season with a performance of Henry Purcell’s The Fairy Queen. It was also an opportunity for guests to raise a glass at a pre-show reception to toast the theatre’s refurbishment, completed over the summer.

The foyer has had a glamorous redesign, with teal tiling, copper accents, mirrored displays, new lighting and velvet upholstery. Auditorium seating has been reupholstered, and all spaces have been painted top to bottom. For the backstage practitioners, the workshop has been re-equipped, including dust extraction units, and the former tungsten lighting rig replaced with more energy efficient LED lights, which also allow for more creative special effects.

The first staged production this year featured musicians and singers under the direction of Nick Warden, with dance choreography by Caroline Rees. Sections from five masques of the semi-opera by Purcell were performed by a chorus who also had rotations as soloists taking on roles from the story of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

A company of four dancers enacted the fairies, accompanied by an orchestra of strings, recorders and harpsichord.

The production was a stunning display of musical artistry from all the performers.

Next up in the Stahl’s programme is a staging of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon”, followed by five touring and School productions. Full details are available at What’s On.