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Shakespeare Under the Stars
This year marks the four hundredth anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. Across the UK, events have been held to celebrate this milestone and Plymouth is no exception. From interactive sonnet walks to the current production of Romeo and Juliet running at Royal William Yard, the Bard’s immortal words are being brought to a whole new audience in Britain’s Ocean City.
This is something Nicola Rosewarne, experienced theatre maker, actor and lecturer in performing arts at City College, is keen to see more of.
Nicola, one of the Romeo and Juliet players, said: “I was delighted to be cast in this production. As our director Mark Laville says – ‘It’s designed not just for regular theatre go-ers or ‘Shakespeare buffs’, but more importantly for people who want to come to an extraordinary event in an extraordinary place. Performing in the open air is exciting and highly unpredictable, which is one of the reasons why I love it so much.
“We have all kinds of things happen during the performances – seagulls, occasional motorbikes revving in the lane outside, helicopters overhead, rain – so as an actor you have to be extremely flexible and be able to fully embrace the volatile nature of the work. Also, to have the opportunity to play in Plymouth’s unique Royal William Yard is a thrilling experience. Outdoor theatre is so very different to indoor, audience members tell us that they forget they are watching a play – even if it does rain – the experience of the performance is heightened.”
Nicola is playing Lady Capulet in the Barbican Theatre’s Romeo and Juliet. The small cast of eight have a vast range of industry experience with most of the actors taking on more than one role.
Nicola continued: “The cast is exceptional. Our two leads, Giorgio and Holly are completing the final stage of their professional training and remind me of my own students – full of life, insight and creativity. I believe strongly that as lecturers working with the performers of the future, we should never stop honing our craft. Working with a company like the Barbican Theatre on a wonderful project like this keeps me current in terms of my knowledge and skills and this, in turn, enhances the experience of my students.”
Her passion for Shakespeare is not limited to performing on the stage, Nicola previously organised the very successful Shakespeare Sonnet Walk ‘From Devonport with Love’, that took place at the headland at Mount Wise in May. The free interactive performances – acted by City College performing arts students – which were described as ‘flash mob meets promenade theatre’ and were well received by the local press.
Romeo and Juliet will be running until the 21 August, and is being performed at Residence One’s Secret Garden in Royal William Yard. So to have your part in the celebrations and to experience Shakespeare under the stars, don’t miss out – book a ticket through the Barbican Theatre’s website.
For those interested in treading the boards by studying performing arts, there is a free Information Drop-in event on at City College on Wednesday 31 August, 4.30pm – 6.30pm, at Kings Road. Please visit events or call 01752 305300 for more information. Alternatively learn about City College on-the-go by downloading the app, available on all iOS and Android devices.
Photo courtesy of Gemma Ward Photography c/o Barbican Theatre