THE last time I went to see a Drama In The Dale promenade performance, The Bonny Moorhen, it was called off halfway through as the rain hammered down on Killhope mining museum. Liz Gill, director of the group’s latest effort, William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, said the weather could once again make or break the play.

Thankfully, the only intervention from Mother Nature on Saturday night was a horde of midges, a mild irritant, but not enough to distract me from the joys of this performance in the bowels of Harehope Quarry.

If doing an outside performance is a risk, using a a place like Harehope makes it one well worth taking. The setting was superb, it didn’t take much to feel as if we too had been shipwrecked on this island full of spirits and magic.

The audience was led around the quarry much as Prospero (played wonderfully by Jeremy Warr) controlled the fates of the stranded characters. Laura Emerson was beautifully vile as the villainous Caliban inducing roaring laughter from the 50 or so crowd with her interactions with the clowning Stefano (Daniel Riches) and Trinculo (Adam Hesslington).

Four children played the part of Ariel, popping up around the set and in the middle of the audience to wonderful effect.

Meanwhile Miranda (Kate Stewart) and Ferdinand (Jonathon Liddle) made a lovely couple seem credible, ultimately their marriage uniting the previously feuding characters at the end.

I can honestly say I’ve never had so much fun in a limestone quarry.

The Tempest is on at 5pm on Saturday and Sunday, September 20 and 21. For more information visit