RSC Amateur Ensemble perform Pericles

RSC Amateur Ensemble to perform Pericles as part of the World Shakespeare Festival in the Courtyard Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

Rehearsals have begun for the final part of the What Country Friends is This? season, performed by the RSC Amateur Ensemble, a new collaboration between the RSC's professional creative and production teams and amateur performers from across the Midlands.

Friday 5 October, 7.30pm
Saturday 6 October, 1.30pm and 7.30pm
Sunday 7 October, 3pm
The Courtyard Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
Box Office: 0844 800 1110

Following a call for participants from across the Midlands, the RSC received nearly 400 applications to join the RSC Amateur Ensemble, who have now begun rehearsals for Shakespeare's Pericles to be performed in the Courtyard Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, in October.

Pericles is the final part of the RSC's What Country Friends is This? season as part of the World Shakespeare Festival, and is also part of the RSC's Open Stages project celebrating amateur theatre.

This production is directed by James Farrell and Jamie Rocha Allan, assistant directors on the What Country Friends is This? productions of The Comedy of Errors, Twelfth Night and The Tempest.

The RSC Amateur Ensemble is a new and exciting collaboration between amateur theatre makers and the RSC professional creative and production teams.

Pericles has a cast entirely made up of amateur performers from across the Midlands, including Leamington Spa, Birmingham and Coventry, and in a range of roles including solicitor, cinema usher, teacher and local government officer.

They are working with RSC directors, designers, stage managers and technicians to create a brand new production of Shakespeare's tragic romance.

When Pericles solves the riddle set by King Antiochus discovering the terrible truth, his life is set on a course for adventure, romance and tragedy. Fleeing for his life he survives shipwrecks and famine, finding love and enduring loss on an epic voyage that will see him risk all for those he cares for.

RSC Open Stages producer Ian Wainwright said of this production of Pericles: 'We're delighted to be working with such a talented cast of amateur actors to create the first ever RSC Amateur Ensemble for this production of Pericles.

From now until opening night they will be collaborating with the RSC professional creative and production teams on all areas of the production, from voice and movement to costume and lighting. This will provide our cast with unique insight and experience into the process of putting on a professional theatre production, as part of our work with amateur theatre-makers through Open Stages.'

The cast includes: Stephen Brigden, Chris Clarke, Rebecca Clee, Sope Dirisu, Jane Durant, Louise Fullwell, Daniel Gough, Juliet Grundy, Bill Handley, Imogen Hartley, Nathan Hawthorne, Neil Jackson, Bella James, Mezze Kalunga-Eade, Hannah Kelly, Arthur Kendrick, Nick Lancaster, Peter Malin, Alistair McPhail, Lauren Moakes, Chloe Orrock, Nick Quartley, Bethany Reilly, Mandhy Senewiratne, James Sheerman, Richard Shields, Julian Small, Sue Whyte, James Wolstenholme and Tim Younger.

You can read a blog on the RSC website where amateur performers share their experiences of working with RSC professionals on Pericles here:  

For more information about Open Stages, please visit  
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Open Stages is a ground-breaking initiative by the RSC, bringing amateur and professional actors closer together. The project sees amateur theatre companies from across the UK performing their own Shakespeare-themed productions under the banner of RSC Open Stages, with help and guidance from 10 partner theatres, including the RSC, and from amateur theatre associations. There are over 260 amateur productions taking place / scheduled to take place across the UK as part of Open Stages, and around 7,200 individual participants, with the oldest participant at 90 years old and the youngest being six.

The World Shakespeare Festival (WSF) is a celebration of Shakespeare as the world's playwright, produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company, in an unprecedented collaboration with leading UK and international arts organisations. It runs from 23 April to November 2012 and forms part of London 2012 Festival, which is the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad, bringing leading artists from all over the world together in a UK-wide festival in the summer of 2012. The World Shakespeare Festival is supported by BP, as Founding Presenting Partner, and by the National Lottery through the Olympic Lottery Distributor and Arts Council England.

The RSC's What Country Friends is This? season is supported by BP.


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