If the audience numbers were anything to go by, organisers of Shakespeare in the Park can be justifiably proud.

They trotted out four performances in all of William Shakespeare's Macbeth from an outdoor set erected in the lower reserve at Bason Botanic Park.

The first show on Thursday was to local schools with public performances on Friday night, Saturday afternoon and Saturday night.

Karen Craig, who directed the production, was thrilled with the audiences, which totalled about 1000 over the four shows.


The performances dovetailed with the Great Bason Fair at the reserve yesterday, which itself had an Elizabethan theme in keeping with the Bard's play.

"The fair is annual, so my hope is next year the Bason has four or five groups applying to be the front-end entertainment."

She said she would probably apply a year down the track, "because it's going to take me a year to get over this".

Ms Craig had high praise for her cast, who were "brilliant".

Temperatures on Saturday afternoon were "so, so hot" the cast huddled under a tree behind the set trying to find shade.

"But they were just troupers. They got out there and gave their all, and went out and did it all over again on Saturday night's final show."

Ms Craig said people from outside Whanganui had made a special trip see the show.

"I got feedback from the director of the Palmerston North Shakespeare festival, and we had people through from New Plymouth as well."

Production manager Edwyna McDonald said she had been involved in amateur theatrics for years. Putting on shows in a theatre was one thing but outside performances were "something altogether".

She said the actors were outstanding. "Remembering Shakespeare's lines in a play like this is very hard. But all of them handled it so well. It just underlines the talent we have here in Whanganui."