Between 11 – 14 May, fourteen Norfolk Locals will join a cast of 25 professional actors to perform on the Royal Shakespeare Theatre stage in Stratford-upon-Avon in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s (RSC) latest production of Henry VI: Rebellion.
The group is part of Shakespeare Nation, a community participation programme run by the RSC in partnership with Norwich Theatre and other six partner theatres. It includes a current and an ex UEA graduate, a care worker, an environmental scientist and magician, born and bred locals, and residents who have moved to Norfolk from the USA, Greece, and Zimbabwe.
The participants will be playing the roles of working people who take part in the rebellion led by the character of Jack Cade against Henry VI and the townsfolk in a scene where Henry VI is out hunting.
Henry VI: Rebellion, a fresh new take on Henry VI: Part Two, hurtles through one of the most turbulent periods in English history, asking the question: can the people ever really decide their own future? The play runs at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon until 28th May.
Working with the RSC Norwich Theatre has supported and helped the local actors to rehearse and prepare for the four performances next week on the stage at Shakespeare’s birthplace.
Shakespeare Nation is a community participation programme aiming to engage people who have little or no experience of Shakespeare, either as theatre-goers or performers.
Jez Pike, Artist Development Coordinator at Norwich Theatre, said:
“This project was a really unique opportunity for all those involved to appear on one of the greatest stages in the country. Working with Shakespeare Nation allows Norwich Theatre to work in the community and share our passion for Shakespeare. We are incredibly proud of the actors involved, and we wish them all the best.”
Ian Wainwright, RSC Learning National Partnerships Producer, said:
“Hailing from six English towns and cities, these are people from all walks of life, most of whom have little or no experience of Shakespeare either as a performer or theatre-goer. It has been fantastic to see their confidence develop whilst gaining a passion for Shakespeare. Each group will take part in up to five performances of the play, and I can’t wait to see them take to the stage between now and June.”
Participants from Norwich Theatre
Saint Ananda, Ed Cairns, Georgia Dimopoulou, David Fung, Etta Geras, Olli Gillo, Gina Irving, Mark Markham, Julian Newton, Aamer Raza, Helen Simpson, Katie Smith, Helen Wells and Jaime Willimott