Warwickshire & Worcestershire children in Robin Hood

18 November 2011

Twitter Hashtag: #RSCRobinHood

Six children from the Warwickshire and Worcestershire area have been cast in the Royal Shakespeare Company's Christmas family show, The Heart of Robin Hood. The production runs in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon between Friday 18 November 2011 – Saturday 7 January 2012.

Heather Crogan-Miksch (10) from Stratford-upon-Avon; Isabelle Evans (10) from Lower Quinton; and Molly Pipe (14) from Ettington will share the role of Sarah Summers.

Bailey Fear (15) from Binton, Stratford-upon-Avon; Jack Firth (12) from Henley-in-Arden; and Tom Ransford (13) from Great Witley, Worcestershire will share the role of Jethro Summers.

The children will appear in alternate performances of the production, which is directed by Icelandic director Gisli Orn Gardarsson.

David Farr's new version on the much loved myth of Robin Hood written for the Royal Shakespeare Company is the first family show to open in the newly refurbished Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford. The Heart of Robin Hood is a witty, mischievous version of the story in which Robin and his band of outlaws steal from the rich who dare to travel through the mighty forest of Sherwood.

The twist to this new version is that Robin and his men do not share their spoils with the poor and instead keep it all for themselves. Under the cruel Prince John, the poor are forced to pay unfair taxes, and in this time of chaos and fear, it is down to Marion to protect them and convince Robin that he must listen to his heart if they are to save the country.

The young actors, who are on stage for much of the show, play two characters whose father doesn't agree to pay the taxes demanded of him by the villainous Prince John.

Barbara Roberts, Children's Casting Director, said: 'The show's director, Gisli, was very impressed by the quality of all the children at the final audition. The six who have been chosen have a wealth of acting experience, and many work with local drama groups. They appear throughout the show, so need to be strong actors, and, given the exciting, physical nature of the production, very agile!'

Quotes and more information about the children can be found below.

For further information and photos of the children in rehearsal please contact:
Dean Asker
RSC Press Office
01789 412660, 0778 9937759
dean.asker@rsc.org.uk

Heather Crogan-Miksch (10) from Stratford-upon-Avon, said:
'I'm really excited to be in a play at the RSC. I saw my first show there when I was two – The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. And I saw Romeo and Juliet for my ninth birthday. Working on The Heart of Robin Hood has been a life-changing and magical experience, and I've learned so much from being around professional actors and working with such a wonderful director.'

This is Heather's professional stage debut. Heather is a member of Playbox Theatre and has performed in two of their circus shows, Princess of Mars and Realms where she did solo trapeze. She has also acted in Pinocchio with Carpe Diem Theatre. On television she has appeared in Waking the Dead. Heather is a member of the London Youth Circus, specialising in flying trapeze.

Isabelle Evans (10) from Lower Quinton, Stratford upon Avon, said:
'This is a totally amazing experience and I am enjoying every minute of it. I've never done any acting before and it was only because my school put my name forward that I even auditioned. I didn't ever imagine that I'd actually get the part! But I am so happy that I did as it's the most exciting thing that I've ever done. I have made some brilliant new friends.'

This is Isabelle's professional stage debut. She recently took part in a performance of Carmina Burana at the RSC with the AC Youth Academy Choir.

Bailey Fear (15) from Binton, Stratford-upon-Avon, said:
'This has been the most rewarding and enjoyable experience, and it's a privilege to be involved with the RSC; my knowledge and confidence is growing daily. The cast are true professionals and great fun to work with, and I have really enjoyed learning how to stage fight!'

This is Bailey's professional stage debut. Bailey has starred in numerous school and amateur productions, including The Insect Play, Wind in the Willows, Julius Caesar, and Oliver! Bailey is to tour Canada with Warwick Youth Theatre in 2012 with their production of Alice through the looking glass .

Jack Firth (12) from Henley in Arden, said:
'I got involved in the RSC through my youth theatre, Playbox. I have done quite a few shows with them and go to a workshop called Film Studio every week. They also act as an agent for young people wanting to have a chance to work with professionals. I joined Warwick Senior School last year which has a great drama department and I am looking forward to doing more there too. I really enjoy my radio work for the BBC playing the character Freddie Pargetter in The Archers on Radio 4. It is amazing to work with such the brilliant cast of The Heart of Robin Hood, and work on the set, which is amazing. I can't wait to get to onto the stage at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. I feel very lucky to have this opportunity. I think everyone will love the show!'

This is Jack's professional theatre debut. Jack is a member of Playbox Theatre in Warwick and has performed in a number of their productions, including Lord of the Flies, Cinderella, Jungle Book and Spider Moon. Jack plays Freddie Pargetter in The Archers.

Molly Pipe (14) from Ettington, said:
'I am a member of Playbox and I love acting. I was excited to be asked to audition for The Heart of Robin Hood, but I didn't think I would get the part. I was very surprised!

'I think I'll feel a bit scared the first time I perform in front of an audience. I am pretty glad I don't have to talk so much. I don't have that many lines because of something that happens at the start of the play. And I'm quite worried about my movements. There are a lot to remember so I have devised this plan to help me memorize them!

'The cast and director are really nice, and they're very kind and helpful. It's not like, 'We are the kids and they are the adults' - it's one company and it always works like that, and it's really good.'

This is Molly's professional stage debut. She has also appeared in Strikes for Playbox Theatre Company. Molly is a member of the professional group, National Youth Folklore Troupe of England.

Tom Ransford (13) from Great Witley, Worcester, said:
'My passion for the theatre started back in 2008 when I curiously joined a small theatre group in Bromyard, and was given the parts of Leroy, Doodle and Looney to play in Bugsy Malone. After that, due to my enthusiasm I joined Worcester Stagecoach and have slowly been progressing each year. So far I have played Billy in Billy Elliot - I was given the full script to learn in just six short weeks! Straight after this production, just a week later, I was lucky enough to land a role playing the Artful Dodger in a production of Oliver! which was equally amazing.

'I strongly believe that Stagecoach has helped me mature and grow in confidence into theatre life and to pursue my ambition. I am very grateful to be given an opportunity to take part in The Heart of Robin Hood. I have enjoyed my experience with the RSC immensely, especially travelling down to London for rehearsals and meeting all the other cast. It has felt like I have now an extended family, especially my chaperones. I will be extremely sad to say goodbye after the show, and hope one day I may have another opportunity such as this.'

This is Tom's professional stage debut. He has also performed in Billy Elliot and Oliver! for the Worcester Stage Coach.

Notes to editors
The Heart of Robin Hood by David Farr
Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
18 November 2011 – 7 January 2012
Box Office: 0844 800 1110 or www.rsc.org.uk

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