The 86 theatres (out of nearly 200 applications) have been chosen to participate in the RSC Open Stages 2013-16 project.
The Skills Exchange Weekends will take place at Contact Theatre, Manchester (25/26 January 2014), Questors Theatre, Ealing (22/23 February 2014), RSC Stratford (29/30 March 2014), and at Sherman Theatre, Cardiff and a Scottish theatre on dates still to be fixed.
LTG participating theatres are:
Bolton Little Theatre with Lear’s Daughters by Elaine Feinstein;
Cotswold Players with Romeo and Juliet;
Lindley Players, Whitstable Playhouse with Arden of Faversham by Anon:
Maskers Theatre Company, Southampton with Richard II;
Rugby Theatre with A Midsummer Night’s Dream;
Stockport Garrick Theatre with The Winter’s Tale;
Just a few examples of the huge range of work being done by over 9,500 participants (the oldest being eighty and the youngest just eight years old, include the Royal Navy performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Henry V in a Norman Castle, a sci-fi Tempest in a village hall in Oxfordshire, a Gulf War set Titus Andronicus in Edinburgh, a female King Lear in London, and a Hamlet in the style of a Danish Crime Drama in St. Andrews.
RSC Open Stages producer Ian Wainwright commented: “The RSC is once again excited to continue to collaborate with just some of the million amateur theatre-makers in the UK. The RSC understands the skill, commitment, energy and passion it takes to make theatre happen. We therefore have a huge respect for those DIY, grassroots theatre-makers who create theatre in their spare time often on very limited resources.
“Open Stages looks to share some of the processes, techniques and ideas of professional theatre making, while allowing the RSC to learn about, and be inspired by, the work of people with a real passion for the craft of theatre.”
The most popular of Shakespeare’s plays to be performed by the participants is Macbeth with seven productions, followed by Twelfth Night with six productions. Other productions include six modern plays inspired by Shakespeare, and sixteen new plays inspired by Shakespeare and written or devised by the amateur companies involved.
The productions will be performed across the UK in a vast number of venues including thirty-five theatres, ten village halls, seven parks & gardens, six castles, six town halls, six pubs, five churches, four school halls, two community centres, two country houses, two universities, two arts centres, two museums, two pavilions, a warehouse, a barn, a library, a cathedral, an island, a coffee shop, a wood, a campsite, a bookshop, a hotel and even a graveyard.
Open Stages 2013-16 will focus on learning, with each amateur company receiving training, director mentoring, feed¬back and support from the RSC and partner theatres. The project is part of the RSC’s commitment to transforming the relationship between amateur and professional theatres. Open Stages is the springboard for the recently announced ‘Dream 16’, a nationwide tour of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to celebrate the four-hundredth anniversary of the death of Shakespeare on 23 April 2016.
The production, which opens in Stratford-upon-Avon, will be co-produced with partner theatres and amateur companies in all twelve regions of the UK. In every location, Bottom and the rude mechanicals will be played by a local amateur group, and Titania’s fairy train by local schoolchildren.