In 1999 Richard Main founded one of the UK’s few open-air theatre companies with the idea of taking Shakespeare around the UK and Ireland.

Seventeen years later and the company, its production profile and reputation have shot through the roof – the roof this open-air theatre company doesn’t tend to use that is.

Speaking to Richard, Chapterhouse Theatre Company’s founder, producer and artistic director, it is evident that his enthusiasm hasn’t waned over the years. In just one sentence and I feel his enthusiasm, loudly.

“We’ve been very lucky. We’ve had some wonderful actors, fantastic directors and I certainly wouldn’t be doing it, not because it is hard touring theatre, financially and everything else, but I still get up in the morning and get excited. Sometimes things happen and you think ‘that’s wonderful, that’s really nice’.

“There aren’t many that I come away and think I wish we hadn’t done that. It still strikes me as really strange, how did this all happen?”

With a lot of hard work and dedication by the sounds of it, as well as his experience and expertise. Richard combined his skills in events management with stagecraft, which saw him working with and for companies ranging from The National Trust, English Heritage, Sony and GlaxoSmithKline.

Richard was also a member of avant-garde, jazz band 4,000,000 Telephones, releasing a number of acclaimed records and touring the UK and Europe.

“When I was little I loved theatre, I was in the church choir and used to sing and do music and all sorts of things.”

He sighs with resonant happiness, “I just love it” before adding: “I don’t like all of it, I’m quite old-fashioned. I do like a musical and we’ve ended up doing a lot of classics. I’m so lucky because I can do the things I really want to see.

“I fell in love with open-air theatre a long time ago. I started the company in November, 1999 and we’ve done all sorts since.”

I wondered if, in the past 17 years, there had been any stand out tours.

“My first Midsummer Nights’ Dream will always be fond to me because I wrote the music for it and toured with it. Midsummer Nights’ Dream was always a favourite but we’ve done so many things. More recently we’ve done children’s shows which I really love and Sense and Sensibility, I love Sherlock Holmes so we’re doing that.”

Sherlock Holmes is coming to Claydon House in North Buckinghamshire this weekend so Richard tells me a little more about it.

“It’s an adaptation by Lord Tenor who has worked with us for years doing adaptations. It’s very fresh and jolly, not strictly to the book. I love Sherlock Holmes and the old films and things but we’ve given it a little more adventure.

“I would say we’ve lightly given Sherlock more of a presence and put in things like sword fights, so there’s some fun in it as well.”

Another of their current productions, Peter Pan, will be coming to Knebworth House near Stevenage so Richard tells me a little more about it.

“It’s a traditional telling, lovely, lovely costumes and lots of music, nicely scored. It’s for all the family I would say. We’ve not dumbed down for little ones, it’s a family show for different ages.

“What’s nice about the family shows is that it might be a child’s first time to see theatre, so we’re lucky to be able to do things like that.”

Claydon House, Middle Claydon, MK18 2EY, Saturday, July 2, 7.30pm. Details: 01296 730 349

Knebworth House, Knebworth, SG1 2AX, Thursday, August 18, 7pm. Details: 01438 812 661