What could eventually be Colchester's answer to Regent's Park Open Air Theatre is making its debut next month.

Castle Park Theatre is a collaboration between locally based Packing Shed Theatre and Colchester Council's events arm, Colchester Events Company, funded by Arts Council England, with the aim of staging live original open-air theatre which draws on the town's past.

For its debut production, which runs from September 3 to 14 around the historic Castle Keep, they are looking at the story of how the Castle was saved from ruin by Charles Gray in the mid 1700s, through the eyes of his wife, Sarah.

Writer and director Tom Edwards says: "Colchester Castle is an amazing spectacle to which many of us who grew up here have grown attached.

"I was approached with the idea for a story about how the Castle once nearly destroyed it's owner, and was itself in jeopardy.

"I took the idea and centred it on a woman who's story seemed to show resilience reminiscent of the Castle itself. Sarah and the Castle's fates are similar, many masters, many destructive forces, still standing. Whilst Sarah is gone, her story can stand, and I'm glad she gets to tell it."

Playing the part of Sarah is Heybridge actor, Kate Millner.

She adds: "The Gift is a simple story told by Sarah about her colourful life in the 18th Century.

"She shares her painful memories of marriage, her struggle with her husbands and how the Castle came into her life and the impact it had on her.

"The audience will be taken on a journey by Sarah and our very special Greek Chorus and they will be totally immersed in the storytelling whilst basking in the awe-inspiring shadow of the Castle itself."

Packing Shed Theatre have been making work for the past four years with the aim of showcasing the area's talent from actors, directors, designers and musicians in new original work.

Castle Park Theatre will have a cast made-up of professional actors including Kate, Colchester's Jenna Saiz and Frinton's Ben Jacobson, as well as community performers who will be making up the chorus.

They are being led by Wivenhoe-based Tom and Colchester musical director Adam Abo-Henrikson, who runs several Rock Choirs in the area, while the lighting design is being put together by Christopher Clay of CDC Productions, who is also based in the town.

The Gift takes place in Upper Castle Park from September 3 to 14 (except Sunday and Monday). For tickets call the Colchester Arts Centre on 01206 500900 or on-line at colchesterartscentre.com