BLOG
Surrey’s Premier Lifestyle Magazine
Guildford Shakespeare Company

Guildford Shakespeare Company - Robin Hood

Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 13.17.54

14 – 30 June Surrey’s award-winning Guildford Shakespeare Company (GSC) open their 13th Annual Open-Air Season with a brand-new adaptation of England’s greatest legend.

Daring rescues, archery competitions, and sword fights, together with the cries of dastardly Sheriffs and May Day folk songs will fill the air this summer as the first part of GSC’s open-air theatre double-bill bursts into life.

Next month England’s most enduring legend ROBIN HOOD takes centre stage in a brand-new story written by GSC’s Associate Playwright ANT STONES (Grimms’ Fairy Tales, The Wind in the Willows). Whilst featuring all the classic characters – Little John, Lady Marian, Friar Tuck and the Sheriff of Nottingham – this new play takes its inspiration from the original folk tales, including the shadowy figure of The Prioress.

A number of actors will be making their GSC debut with ROBIN HOOD, including GAVIN FOWLER (Penny Dreadful Season 1, Puck in Michael Grandage’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Florizel in Lucy Bailey’s RSC The Winter’s Tale); SALLY CHENG (Twelfth Night, A Christmas Carol, RSC); and JAMES SHELDON (Jean in Miss Julie at Jermyn Street Theatre). GSC regular CHRIS PORTER returns to the company following recently touring with David Haig’s five-star play Pressure. He is joined by PAULA JAMES and ROBERT MASKELL who respectively last played Portia in GSC’s Julius Caesar (2017) and the Porter in Macbeth (2013). The cast is completed by GSC’s Co-Founder and Actor-Manager SARAH GOBRAN.

Director TOM LITTLER also makes his return to GSC, his first since becoming Artistic Director of London’s Jermyn Street Theatre. TOM JACK MERIVALE joins the creative team to write the show’s original songs and PHILIP d’ORLÉANS is once again in charge of the fights. Designer NIEL IRISH (Opera Holland Park, Watermill Theatre, English Touring Opera) also returns.

ROBIN HOOD is staged in Guildford’s best-kept secret, RACKS CLOSE. A former chalk quarry, now beautifully overgrown into an idyllic natural amphitheatre, RACKS CLOSE sits in the heart of the town centre. ROBIN HOOD follows last year’s runaway success of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the same venue. Rope bridges and tree houses, together with the venue’s winding paths and grass banks promise an unforgettable immersive experience. GSC will also be holding collections for the Guildford North Food Bank at every performance, which seeks to provide temporary help for those in the Guildford area who are in need.

See the GSC website for further details of what items are being collected >>> www.guildford-shakespeare-company.co.uk


Guildford Shakespeare Company

Screen Shot 2018-02-09 at 17.54.00

SHAKESPEARE’S BIRTHDAY BASH RETURNS FOR 7th YEAR!

Now in its 7th year, WILL’S BIRTHDAY BASH is Guildford Shakespeare Company’s annual celebration of William Shakespeare birthday, 23 April 1564. Will’s Birthday Bash has always been a sell-out event, and once again the award-winning theatre company have lined an exciting programme to mark the occasion, kicking off with their 7th SONNET WALK WEEKEND (21-22 April). Akin to a treasure hunt, the Sonnet Walks take audiences on a mystery walking-tour where walkers will encounter Shakespeare and his characters in the least likely of places. In previous year years, the especially designed route has included the roof of House of Fraser, a fortune teller in Rack’s Close, a prisoner in the Castle Keep, and last year St Catherine’s Ruin and a field of sheep!

This year, GSC are very excited to announce a brand new venue for the walks – the historic West Horsley Place. The Grade I listed manor house and surrounding estate were inherited by Bamber Gascoigne, who has set up a charity, The Mary Roxburghe Trust, to rescue and restore West Horsley Place and to establish there a vibrant centre for the performing and visual arts and for the teaching of crafts. The incredible house and grounds will be taken over by actors for the weekend, allowing audiences to discover not only fabulous speeches and sonnets from Shakespeare, but also this magnificent home once visited by Elizabeth I.

The Bash continues with a special staged reading of Shakespeare’s THE TWO NOBLE KINSMEN, on Wednesday 25 April. Based loosely on Chaucer’s Knight’s Tale, this collaboration with John Fletcher is pure Jacobean drama with dark sibling rivalry, unrequited love and deception…it also includes a group of amateur actors (harking back to the successes of Dream?) and... wait for it... a baboon! Following the sell-out staged readings of Pericles, Cymbeline and Henry VIII, join us for another of Shakespeare’s rarely performed plays.

The final event in the Bash is GSC’s flagship youth theatre, the GSC YOUNG COMPANY, second public performance (29-30 April). Devised, written and performed by their group of 12 – 16 year old aspiring actors, the performance is based on the three Shakespeare plays GSC staged last year, Julius Caesar, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The two Gentlemen of Verona. The play cleverly intertwines story lines from all three plays, and includes new characters inspired by the originals. “That was the most inspiring evening” Audience member 2017

Tickets for Will’s Birthday Bash go on sale 19 March (Priority Booking opens 12 March). www.guildford-shakespeare-company.co.uk Tickets £10 - £16.

Guildford Shakespeare Company

Screen Shot 2018-01-11 at 12.41.00

ROMEO & JULIET 3 - 24 February 2018

The award-winning* Guildford Shakespeare Company open 2018 with a site-responsive production of Shakespeare’s ROMEO & JULIET, featuring HARRIET THORPE as the Nurse, staged in Surrey’s largest Georgian church, Holy Trinity Guildford.

HARRIET THORPE is one of Britain's best loved actresses, best known for her roles in ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS, THE BRITTAS EMPIRE, FRENCH & SAUNDERS, THE COMIC STRIP, and feature films CALENDAR GIRLS and AB FAB THE MOVIE. Her theatre credits include West End hits WICKED and MAMMA MIA!, as well as numerous appearances at THE NATIONAL THEATRE, most recently in Richard Bean’s GREAT BRITAIN.

GSC, now in their 12th year, specialise in creating visceral and immersive theatre experiences in non-theatre venues. “The nurturing of new audiences for Shakespeare is at the core of our work” continued Co-Founder Matt Pinches, “and this production will be absolutely perfect for that, whether they are young or old; whilst still giving seasoned theatre-goers a very special version of this powerful story”.

Embracing the same period as the church itself (completed in 1764), this production will highlight the beauty of the church’s architecture, bringing the impact of Holy Trinity’s ecclesiastical spirit to the forefront: accentuating the play’s themes of duty, passion and sacrifice. The black and gold Victorian Rood-Screen will be utilised to create Georgian-style cameos whilst also providing the perfect framing for Juliet’s candle lit tomb in front of the alter.

The late-Georgian period was a time when women were beginning to find their own voices in a male-dominated world, with inspirational figures such as Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen and Mary Shelley rising to prominence. “Juliet’s determination to find her own happiness amidst a family dominated by her father, and the strict moral codes of upper-class society, will be given a very powerful voice with this particular setting”.
The title roles will be played RICKY OAKLEY and LUCY PEARSON. Lucy last worked with the company in 2015, playing Alice in their promenade production of Alice in Wonderland, staged to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the book’s publication, and Guildford’s links to Lewis Carroll.

Director/Designer team CHARLOTTE CONQUEST (NATIONAL THEATRE, SHAKESPEARE’S GLOBE) and NEIL IRISH (ENO, OPERA HOLLAND PARK, WATERMILL THEATRE) return to the company following their recent collaboration on GSC’s summer 5 STAR The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Joining them are MATT EATON (Sound Designer) and PETER HARRISON (Lighting). Original choral music is composed by MARY MCADAM.

For more information visit >>> www.guildford-shakespeare-company.co.uk