We work with groups in Nottingham as part of our Shakespeare Nation programme, in collaboration with our Regional Partner, Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham.

Built in 1865, the Theatre Royal is a beautiful Victorian theatre, while the Royal Concert Hall, built in 1982, is known for its visual, modern architecture.

Together they are one of six of the Regional Partner Theatres who work with us on our Shakespeare Nation programme aimed at adult communities who might not think theatre and Shakespeare are for them.

Theatre Royal Nottingham exterior at night
Theatre Royal Nottingham
© Nottingham Theatre Royal Browse and license our images

Henry VI: Rebellion

74 adults from Blackpool, Bradford, Canterbury, Cornwall, Norwich and Nottingham appeared alongside the professional cast in 2022's Henry VI: Rebellion. They played the roles of working people who take part in the rebellion led by the character of Jack Cade against Henry VI, and townsfolk in a scene where Henry VI is out hunting.

Initially they rehearsed in their local theatres before taking to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre stage from April 2022, with each group appearing in around four performances.

A group of people stood outside Theatre Royal and Concert Hall in Nottingham.
These Shakespeare Nation participants featured in some performances of Henry VI: Rebellion.
Photo by Lamar Francois © RSC Browse and license our images

Capulets and Candyfloss

In July 2019, we worked with the Nottingham People's Choir to help them create their own version of Romeo and Juliet as part of Shakespeare Nation. The Nottingham People's Choir performed Capulets and Candyfloss for an audience of friends and family, backed by singers from Nottingham Voice Collective.

Working with two professional actors playing the roles of Romeo and Juliet, the choir mixed extracts from Shakespeare's play with their own stories and songs to retell the famous tale through their memories of love, loss and life. The show was set against the backdrop of the Nottingham Goose Fair. You can watch a video about the project below.

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The Nottingham People’s Choir is a community project funded by the Institute of Mental Health, who have been meeting at the Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall (TRCH), our Regional Partner Theatre, for weekly singing sessions and performances since 2013. They prepared for the show by seeing our touring production of Romeo and Juliet in February, then held weekly sessions with our creatives and the team from TRCH. 

ITV News sent their Central Education Correspondent, Peter Bearne, to meet the group as they prepared to step out on the Royal Shakespeare Theatre stage in Henry VI: Rebellion. You can see his reports on the itv.com website.

One of the Nottingham rebels, Becky, has also been recording vlogs about the experience. Watch her explain how and why she got involved, then catch up with her during her very first performance at the RST.

The Shakespeare Nation adult engagement work is generously supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

The Oakley Charitable Trust: Supporting the involvement of Next Generation Act and Shakespeare Nation in Henry VI: Rebellion