Farm workers have boosted the milk production of a herd by four per cent – after staging private performances of SHAKESPEARE for the bovine audience.
A theatre company rehearsed scenes penned by the bard on the dairy farm and workers were surprised to discover that their milk production increased.
Farm manager Martin Wellsted first gave permission to The Changeling Theatre Company, who perform outdoor theatre, to rehearse in fields two months ago.
The 170 Holstein cows were treated to excerpts from The Merry Wives of Windsor at Pleasant Farm in Chart Sutton, near Maidstone, Kent.
After their milk yield rose, the thespians became regular guests on the farm, performing to the cows six times since the start of May.
Stunned staff put the milk boost down to the calming effects of the lyrical language and farmworker Liam Batt said they were delighted by the impact of a bit of culture.
He said: ”Anything that calms the animals and reduces their stress is good and Shakespeare ticks the right boxes.
”Perhaps there?s something about the language of Shakespeare. We don?t know, but it seems to work.”
A study at the University of Leicester in 2001 showed that cows produced more milk after being exposed to slow, calm music which alleviated stress.
Rob Forknall, artistic director of The Changeling Theatre Company, said even the actors were surprised at their effects on the herd.
He said: ”It started off as a rather bizarre experiment after I was talking to a farmer about whether Shakespeare would have the same effect on cows as classical music.
”We were all slightly surprised when it did. Since then we’ve done several rehearsals with the cows.
”It saves us having to book rehearsal space and the farmer?s very pleased to get more milk.”