It’s a landmark year for Shakespeare at Traquair.

Twenty years ago the group started raising funds for today’s Eastgate Theatre - then a disused church. Today the group is instrumental in encouraging the cultural and artistic development of young and old in the Tweeddale area and beyond. Its community spirit and annual productions, both at its home in the grounds of Traquair House, and at the Eastgate Theatre, Peebles, have drawn admiration and audiences from around the globe.

Michal Stachowiakl has designed the group’s posters and programmes since 2006. Six of Michal's designs will appear in a New York publication this October - "Presenting Shakespeare: 1,100 Posters from around the World".

To mark the development over the last two decades, the group reprised the The Herbal Bed by Peter Whelan at the Eastgate last week and will do so again at the Biggar Little Festival, Saturday October 24 at 7.30pm).

It was first performed ten years ago to enthusiastic response.

The Herbal Bed pivots on documents which suggest that Shakespeare’s daughter, Susanna, may have had an extra-marital affair. The playwright explores this fact and creates a potential scenario based on this piece of church court documentation from the seventeenth century.

Kath Mansfield is directing, having played Susanna ten years ago. Sara Innes is this production’s Susanna - the love interest of three men in the play: Jack (Michael Boyd); Rafe (James Aitken) and her husband, played by Les Morss.

Rehearsals suggest the show will be a winner. “The writing is excellent,” Kath Mansfield told us. “The relationship between Susanna and Rafe works well with Susanna being the older, wiser woman - respectful of her husband but desolate at his lack of affection. Rafe is a young man, torn between his love for Susanna, his respect for her husband, the doctor who treated his children when very ill, and the moral dilemma he finds himself in as a married man.

“I loved the part of Susanna, myself and it was strange to imagine the character played by someone else,” explained Kath, “but I am delighted with Sara Innes’ portrayal. She captures Susanna’s intelligence, her quick thinking and her compassion. Susanna is a complex character. I always felt sympathy for her and Sara sees her same way.”

Richard Nisbet features as Gauche. He co-directed the original show alongside Steven Russell. It has been a truly collaborative effort - with all cast members working together and supporting one another through rehearsals in Eddleston Village Hall.

Given that this is the final show this year, it is hoped it will be a highlight in the calendar. It comes after a successful Halloween Experience last October/November; a great promenade performance of Hamlet in June, A frantic fortnight at the Fringe for the youngsters in a double bill directed by Tim Wilcock and a short burst of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, directed by Scott Noble and featuring some amazing performances from the young cast. So, five shows and an exhibition to celebrate twenty years is a fine record.