Richard III, Boxed Romeo and Juliet, The Incubator, Shakeathon, Doing An Edinburgh, Shakespeare’s Bit on the Side and MacHamlear… Shakespeare Unplugged Festival 2012 prepares for a busy, final week.

Feb 17th, 2012 | By | Category: Bath

During its third week the Shakespeare Unplugged Festival offers a full programme of events for children, teenagers and adults appearing at the Ustinov Studio and the egg theatre until Sunday 4th March.  New adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays and prose, specially commissioned works, and a soap-opera inspired by the Bard all feature during the Festival’s final week.


On Thursday 23rd February at 11am, young children can enjoy JACKANORY LIVE in the Roper Room at the egg theatre as actress Catherine Mallorie introduces pre-school children aged 3 and 4 years to Shakespeare’s magical isle from The Tempest.


DOING AN EDINBURGH takes place on Thursday 23rd February and Friday 24th February at the Ustinov Studio featuring Midnight At The Boar’s Head, an evening of foot-stomping, folk-fuelled storytelling with handmade puppets and live music presented by Fine Chisel Theatre; and Silly Songs of Shakespeare, presented by Bath’s own New Old Friends, which brings the plays and other aspects of the Bard’s legend to life in song.


On Friday 24th February, THE INCUBATOR will be staged throughout the day and evening at the Ustinov Studio, showcasing five new commissions and scratch performances created for Shakespeare Unplugged. During the morning, the programme includes Emily Taylor’s The Nature of the Play focusing on Romeo and Juliet; and Bath’s own New Old Friends Theatre Company and Bristol-based Roughhouse Theatre present a dynamic and accessible sixty minute version of The History Cycle. The Afternoon session provides a final opportunity to watch Fine Chisel Theatre’s Midnight At The Boar’s Head and New Old Friends’ Silly Songs of Shakespeare. During the evening, the YPT Urban Arts group presents Battle, a short dance performance inspired by Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra; followed by a rehearsed reading of David Lane’s version of Coriolanus, presented by twenty-two members of the egg’s Young People’s Theatre. This new adaptation of Shakespeare’s powerful play re-told through the eyes of young people today, offers a unique perspective on political power, authoritarianism and social justice from the generation whose stories are yet to be told.


The Theatre Royal Bath’s Young People’s Theatre presents RICHARD III on Saturday 25th February and Sunday 26th February.  Featuring an arresting soundtrack and urban dance sequences, expect murder and mayhem as Shakespeare’s most evil king takes to the stage in this new YPT production, directed by Heidi Vaughan. A company of twenty-four young actors, who hail from Bath, Bristol and the surrounding area, is led by Adam Lloyd-James, aged 18 from Wick, who plays the role of King Richard III.  Award-winning director Heidi Vaughan has worked as a theatre maker, arts manager and workshop leader with theatre companies across the South West, in Oxford and London, as well as working internationally in Ireland, Spain and Italy.


From Monday 27th February to Thursday 1st March, four local primary schools will take on the egg’s Shakeathon challenge. Working with theatre professionals, year 5 and 6 students and teachers from Batheaston Primary, Freshford Primary, Southdown Juniors and Stone With Woodford Primary will produce a Shakespeare marathon featuring A Winter’s Tale and Macbeth.


BOXED ROMEO AND JULIET visits the egg theatre on Saturday 3rd March at 11.30am and 3pm. An imaginative and sensitive adaptation of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy staged by Box Clever Theatre Company, this new interpretation of the ultimate teenage love story is ideal for audiences aged 10 years and over.


The Theatre Royal’s Engage adult performance group are also playing a key role during the Festival performing in a range of productions alongside the Theatre’s YPT including, MACHAMLEAR, a Shakespeare-inspired soap opera set in contemporary East London.


Featuring a cast of twenty, including fifteen Engage performers and five YPT members, MacHamlear, takes the three tragedies of King Lear, Macbeth and Hamlet and sets them in modern day East London – as if Shakespeare were writing for Eastenders.


Ken Lear is retiring from his role as landlord of the Lear’s Arms and wonders which of his three daughters will take it over. Mac and Beth run a butcher’s shop and have aspirations to run the whole of the Duncan Quality Meats franchise. And young Hamlet is depressed because his mother has married his uncle Claude, quite soon after his father died. Claude wants to stop Hamlet being such a thorn in his side.


Written by Jim Graham-Brown, MacHamlear is directed by Heidi Vaughan with original music from Bath Spa University student Stuart Morrell.


Tickets have sold out for an ‘Omnibus Edition’ of MacHamlear featuring all 4 episodes on Sunday 4th March. There is still an opportunity to watch individual episodes when they are presented at the egg theatre on Friday 2nd March and Saturday 3rd March at 7.45pm. An individual episode of MacHamlear will feature as part of Shakespeare’s Bit On The Side, devised by the egg’s creative learning department and featuring performers of all ages. Providing fascinating insights into the contemporary relevance of Shakespeare’s themes, these engaging, short events range from Shakespeare’s Bites, presented by local school children, and a cabaret-style performance inspired by Shakespeare’s writing and presented by the egg’s YPT.


SHAKESPEARE UNPLUGGED FESTIVAL 2012 continues until 4th March in the Ustinov and the egg theatre at the Theatre Royal Bath.  Tickets are available from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 01225 448844 or the egg theatre on 01225 823 409.


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