The HandleBards, the world’s first cycling theatre company, will kick-off an exciting programme of possibilities at The Reader Mansion House

Outdoor touring theatre troupe, The HandleBards, will be arriving on two wheels to Liverpool’s Calderstones Park to perform William Shakespeare’s classic comedy Much Ado About Nothing on Saturday 10 August 2019. The performance is the first in an exciting programme of activities planned by charity, The Reader, as it prepares to open the doors to the Grade II listed Mansion House this summer following a £5M refurbishment project.

Alongside the Storybarn, the Café and the Ice Cream Parlour which are already up and running, the restored Mansion House will be part of The Reader at Calderstones, a warm and vibrant community where anyone can come to experience literature, find and share meaning, be nourished, develop new skills and explore creativity. 

In addition to The Handlebards performance, which will take place in the Garden Theatre to the rear of the Mansion House, the opening programme promises to offer something for everyone, with cultural events including literature, art and music. The full programme is set to be announced in June.

Anna Farrell, Head of Calderstones Programme, said: “As we gear up to the opening of The Reader Mansion House this Summer, we’re delighted to reveal the first event in our exciting season of activities, all held together by a golden thread of literature. We’re looking forward to welcoming as many people as possible from the local area, the region and beyond, for what promises to be an unmissable show.”

The HandleBards, the world’s first cycling theatre company, perform most of their shows by pedaling from venue to venue, with all the set, props and costume necessary to perform Shakespeare. The troupe’s production will be filled with mayhem, debauchery and cross-dressing a plenty – audiences should expect riotous amounts of energy, chaos and lots of laughter.

Much Ado About Nothing tells the story of a group of soldiers returning from the war to a household in Messina, kindling new love interests and re-kindling old rivalries. The parallel love stories of Beatrice, Benedick, Claudio and Hero become entangled with plotting, frivolity and melodrama in one of Shakespeare’s most famous comedies.

The performance will have a relaxed atmosphere, with ticket holders invited to bring along their own deck chairs, blankets and cushions. Standard tickets are £16 + booking fee, and a limited number of £12 +bf early bird tickets are available, tickets for under 18s are only £10 +bf while tickets for under 10s are free. To find out more or and book tickets visit

The project to refurbish the Mansion House is supported by Liverpool City Council, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Garfield Weston Foundation, The Tudor Trust, AKO Capital, Ravensdale Trust and The Pilkington Charities Fund.