Our 2023 production of Julius Caesar explored questions such as gender in leadership and power, and included a Community Chorus made up of community leaders, workers and volunteers from the local area.

Julius Caesar played in Stratford-upon-Avon then goes on tour and at each theatre it visited, there was a different chorus, drawn from that local community.

Mikaela Moody, Stratford Community Chorus

“Rehearsals started out a little nerve-wracking honestly, but recognising that everyone in the Chorus was some degree of self-conscious helped all of us ease into it. As a trans person, you might come into these situations with a bit of extra trepidation as well, but everybody's been as welcoming and inclusive as I could hope for, from the cast (Chorus and professional alike) to everyone in the creative and production teams."

Group of women standing on the steps in front of the theatre
The Stratford Community Chorus. Back row, left to right: Naomi MacDonald, Anna Bhatia, Alex Cooper, Alison Stoddart, Gill Cleeve, Wendy Sherwood, Sarah Coxall, Sarah Coleman, Charlotte Summerskill, Michelle Avon. Front row, left to right: Denicia Bernard, Janice Crompton, Janet Palmer, Sally Fay-George, Sarah Paine, Margo Galvin, Mikaela Moody, Rhiannon Benjamin, Rachel Knight.
Photo by Lucy Barriball © RSC Browse and license our images

Stratford’s Community Chorus was made up of community leaders and volunteers, many of whom have overcome their own personal challenges to help other people in their community. They include:

  • Stratford’s British/Canadian mayor Gill Cleeve, a first responder who teaches First Aid and supports a number of community groups.
  • Climate campaigner Janet Palmer, who is also co-director of Net Zero Stratford, a community interest company which is coordinating Stratford's Great Big Green Week 2023
  • Domestic abuse survivor Sarah Paine who campaigns with Refuge for domestic abuse and coercive control red flags to be taught in school.
  • South African born Alex Cooper, who opened a centre for young people that are “not school shaped” to be able to continue with their education and get into employment.

Another member of the Community Chorus was Mikaela Moody, 32, from Leamington Spa. Mikaela is a disfigured/disabled non-binary trans woman with two home-recorded albums and an MA in writing Musical Theatre from Goldsmiths. She is a volunteer mentor with Warwickshire Pride's Proud Youth Leamington group, where she helps facilitate a group for young LGBTQIA+ people, providing them a safe space and adult supervision from people they can trust.

Mikaela found out about the Community Chorus through Warwickshire Pride and was attracted by the chance to get a guided tour into the process of making a show.

She added: "I've done live performance before, but this is not only the first Shakespeare I've been part of, it's the first time I've been inside a process that truly embodies what I think is the theatrical ideal, where every person present in the rehearsal space has something to offer that will demonstrably make the show better."

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