The three-week 'Shakespeare Unplugged' festival opens in Bath on Saturday (March 1) as the work of the Bard is celebrated in a wide range of performances at the egg theatre and other venues across the city. New adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays, specially commissioned new work and fascinating insights into the contemporary relevance of his writing, will feature in live performances and events for young children, teenagers and adults.
On the Festival’s opening weekend, Quiz Night (or ‘What You Know’) takes place at the egg theatre on Saturday 1st March at 7.30pm. This pub-style quiz has a uniquely TRB twist with live music, picture rounds, ‘live’ questions presented by actors from the Theatre Royal’s Engage Company, and four filmed questions featuring twenty-four members of the Theatre Royal’s Young People’s Theatre. Prepare to test your knowledge of Shakespeare’s works and contemporary pop culture, whilst enjoying a light-hearted evening’s entertainment.
From Saturday, March 1 to Thursday March 6, Hoodwink Theatre Company and the egg transform the egg’s Roper Room into an interactive Forest of Arden for Beneath the Trees (Where Nobody Sees). This enchanting, dream-like theatrical experience for pre-school and primary aged children creates a forest clearing where fairies and fools, animals and flowers, nature and magic are woven together in a place of transformations, safe experimentation and misrule! Young theatregoers and families can go wild in this immersive theatrical woodland featuring trees, bushes and rocks, which make sounds and speak Shakespearean lines, voiced by actors from the Theatre Royal’s Engage Company. “Tongues in trees, books in brooks, sermons in stones and good in everything”, Beneath the Trees celebrates the natural, magical and historical in a fun-filled theatre experience.
On Sunday, March 2and Monday, March 3, 'Burned on the water' will be staged at the Roman Baths featuring performances of Antony and Cleopatra and Cymbeline. The performances are presented in promenade style beside the atmospheric Great Bath as Egypt, Rome and Ancient Britain are brought to life with quarrelling lovers and warring nations in two of Shakespeare’s epic stories of the Roman World. Seventeen members of the Theatre Royal’s Engage Company will perform Antony and Cleopatra, whilst twenty-seven members of the Theatre Royal’s Young People’s Theatre will present Cymbeline. Weekly bell-ringing practice at neighbouring Bath Abbey has been suspended on Monday, March 3specially, to ensure that the performances can proceed. Tickets for both productions, which are directed by John East, have now sold out.
At the end of the first week of the Shakespeare Unplugged Festival, Hammerpuzzle Theatre Company visits the egg to stage two performances of King John on Sunday, March 9. This sixty-minute, high-energy adaptation of Shakespeare’s history play captures the dynamic realism of the tragic story, whilst holding onto the heart of the Bard’s original text.
The Shakespeare unplugged festival 2014 opens on Saturday 1st March and runs until March 22 in the egg theatre and venues across Bath. For tickets and more details please visit www.theatreroyal.org.uk