Some time ago in this column I expressed the hope that the appointment of the distinguished Shakespearian scholar Jonathan Bate as Provost of Worcester might signal the revival of outdoor productions of the Bard’s work in the college’s lovely lakeside gardens. Under the distinguished directorship of Prof Nevill Coghill, these were once such a feature of the city’s cultural life.

Well, I am delighted to report that this is to be, though whether through the agency of Prof Bate, I know not.

Aware of what I had written on the subject, the Oxford University Dramatic Society’s president, Lucinda Dawkins, a Worcester classics student, contacted me with the news. She emailed: “We are indeed reviving the idea of extraordinary garden shows in Worcester, with a production of The Merchant of Venice on a floating stage, with boats. It is going to be from June 4-8, with matinées on the 6th and 8th, and Prof Bate will be giving a talk before the evening show on the 6th.” The dates are now in my diary.

The most celebrated of Coghill’s Worcester productions was his 1949 Tempest. But there were others. From our files at Newspaper House, I would judge that the last was probably A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This had a two-week run in 1962. A famous name in the cast was that of Sheridan Morley, later a theatre critic. Ours abused him for his “egregious Lion”.

Coghill had previously directed a wartime production of the play in Magdalen College Grove. This was the setting for a Magdalen Players’ production of Dream in May 1964. Among the “goonish mechanicals” was John Sergeant. Yes, that one.