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YOUR NEWS – Walk on the Wyld Side

YOUR NEWS – Walk on the Wyld Side

Above: Photo: Jessica Marsh

Petersfield Shakespeare Festival is poised to return for its 9th season with bold, live, open-air performances at an exciting new venue

By Clare Glancy & Lucy Hollis

The Petersfield Shakespeare Festival is set to transform the lockdown nightmare to a midsummer dream as it returns this July with a fittingly festive play in a perfect and magical setting.
A cast of eight promise to delight audiences with A Midsummer Night’s Dream, performed in a clearing beneath a magnificent oak tree, nestling amongst the woodland of Wylds Christmas Tree Farm, Liss from 20 – 25 July 2021.
The venue will be open early to enjoy the family-friendly festival vibe and beautiful surroundings before the show. Tickets are priced to encourage everyone to attend, and concessions are available.


Location: Wylds Farm, Warren Road, Liss, East Hampshire GU33 7DF

Previous seasons:

  • 2020: Ten short films inspired by
    Romeo & Juliet
  • 2019: The Comedy of Errors,
    Abyss, Hamlet
  • 2018: Henry V,
    The Taming of the Shrew
  • 2017: As You Like It,
    Shakespeare’s Lost Women,
    Buried Moon,
    The Comedy of Errors,
    Twelfth Night, Romeo & Juliet
  • 2016: The Tempest, Hamlet,
    A Midsummer’s Night Dream
  • 2014: The Merry Wives of Windsor,
  • 2013: A Midsummer Night’s Dream,
    Romeo and Juliet
  • 2012: Much Ado About Nothing,
    Twelfth Night

YOUR NEWS – New Bromley Theatre Group to Produce The Bard’s Dream

YOUR NEWS – New Bromley Theatre Group to Produce The Bard’s Dream


Bromley Community Arts Theatre (BCAT) s a newly formed, exciting artistic venture with the aim of revitalising local theatre.
Bromley has a long history of providing exceptional entertainment in many genres from theatre to live music to youth and dance.
Following fourteen months of restrictions and lockdowns, local drama has suffered with many of the non-professional societies struggling to know when they will be able to reopen their doors. BCAT has been established to bring people together from each existing society, and from all across the borough to help stage its first production, Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Pauline Armour, Simon Clark, David Evans and Debbie Griffiths (four experienced theatre directors and performers from the local drama scene) have joined forces to establish the new venture. Rehearsals and performances will be strictly guided by the rulebook of Covid-19 and its ever-changing nature. Performances will be open-air in the grounds of the gorgeous Bromley & Sheppard’s Colleges on London Road in July.
This gives maximum protection to audiences and provides the greatest chance of being able to work alongside any restrictions that may still be in place.
The brand-new company is keen to reach out to a wider audience to attract not only spectators but actors, backstage crew, set builders and those who wish to be involved with front-of-house duties.
Theatre, and creativity in general, are vital for our wellbeing and mental health and potential involvement is an excellent opportunity to connect with like-minded, arts aficionados in a fun, safe and creatively challenging way.

Bromley Community Arts Theatre
Facebook: BCATheatre
Twitter: @arts_bromley

YOUR NEWSRomeo and JulietMetcalfe Gordon Productions

Romeo and Juliet
Metcalfe Gordon Productions

Above: Emily Redpath as Juliet and Sam Tutty as Romeo. Photo: Ryan Metcalfe, Preevue

You Wait for One, and Then… Three Come Along at Once!

by Paul Johnson

Sir Derek Jacobi has joined the cast of the new filmed theatre production of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet starring Sam Tutty and Emily Redpath in the title roles. He will play the Narrator.

The production, which utilised new, cutting-edge technology to produce and film the show under current restrictions and regulations, will be available via from 13 – 20 Feb 2021, with tickets on sale now. A portion of proceeds will be going to Acting for Others.

As well as Tutty, Redpath and Jacobi, also featured in the cast are Brandon Bassir as Mercutio, Daniel Bowerbank as Benvolio, Jonny Labey as Paris, Sylvester Akinrolabu as Tybalt, Helen Anker as Capulet, Marc Ozall as Montague, Lucy Tregear as Nurse, Vinta Morgan as Friar, Jessica Murrain as Prince, Timmy Driscoll as Sam, Tats Nyazika as Gregory, Iskandar Eton as Abe and Ollie Tennant as Balthasar.

This production of Romeo & Juliet is directed by Nick Evans, with assistant direction by Gwenan Bain, edited by Ryan Metcalfe, production design by Jamie Osborne for Preevue, costume design by Natasha Bowles, original music by Sam Dinley, sound design by Olly Steel, lighting design by Elliot Smith, visual effects by Preevue, production management by Gary Beestone and casting by Jim Arnold CDG.

The filmed theatre production of Romeo & Juliet is produced by Metcalfe Gordon Productions.

Sam Tutty shot to fame in 2019, making his West End debut in the title role in Dear Evan Hansen (Noel Coward Theatre), for which he recently won the Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical. Earlier this year, he also won the What’s On Stage Award for Best Actor in a Musical for Dear Evan Hansen. Prior to this, he starred as Daniel in Once on This Island at Southwark Playhouse.

Emily Redpath graduated from Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in 2019 and has since appeared in P**n Flakes for Spilt Milk and the feature film Help for Ridder Films.

Meanwhile, Sir Derek Jacobi needs little introduction. Twice awarded an Olivier Best Actor Award, first for his performance of the eponymous hero in the RSC production of Cyrano de Bergerac and then for his Malvolio in Twelfth Night.

In addition to being a founder member of the Royal National Theatre the multi-award-winning actor has also enjoyed a successful television career, including lead roles in I, Claudius, Cadfael, The Gathering Storm, ITV’s Vicious (alongside Sir Ian McKellen), Last Tango in Halifax and The Crown.

Previous film appearances include The Day of the Jackal, Henry V, Dead Again, Gladiator, Gosford Park, The Riddle, The King’s Speech, My Week with Marilyn, Cinderella and Murder on the Orient Express.

Twitter: @RomeoJuliet2021
Facebook: Romeo & Juliet 2021

Derek Jacobi as the Narrator. Photo: Ryan Metcalfe, Preevue


YOUR NEWSRomeo and JulietQueen’s Theatre Hornchurch

Romeo and Juliet
Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch

You Wait for One, and Then… Three Come Along at Once!

Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch announces world premiere of a rand-new comedy…

by Sarah Soliman

Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is thrilled to announce the world premiere of a new everyday comedy, Sharon ‘n’ Barry do ‘Romeo & Juliet’, on Zoom from 25 Feb – 6 Mar.

Sharon and Barry are done with baking, Joe Wicks and Netflix, and have stumbled upon Sharon’s old battered school text of Romeo and Juliet in their loft. After a bit of a read and a watch of the classic, the couple has been inspired to have a crack at the play themselves…

They’ve hacked out the boring bits, worked out playing all the parts, and the props have just arrived from Amazon!

Viewers are invited to join them live from their living-room for this inadvertently hilarious, but surprisingly touching, take on the Bard’s most romantic story.

The play will be performed live in real time online via a private link and is directed by Douglas Rintoul, the Theatre’s artistic director.

This new work builds on a year of digital innovation at Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch in 2020, with the international streaming of co-production The Hired Man, the live-streamed community response piece Here I Am and world premiere of digital theatre piece Misfits.

Rintoul told Sardines: “Once again we’re heading into rehearsals during a lockdown to bring audiences some live theatre. We were desperate to make something fun and joyous, so I am chuffed that today we’re announcing details of our new comedy, Sharon ‘n’ Barry do ‘Romeo & Juliet’.

“It’s something daft and beautiful that we hope will brighten up these last winter weeks.”

Tickets cost £8 (plus 65p ‘QRenew’ Fee), suitable for all ages 7+.

For more information and to purchase tickets all you need to do is visit:

Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is a vibrant producing theatre, working in Outer London, Essex and beyond.

As a cultural hub, over 210,000 people enjoy the programme each year. Audiences are guaranteed a warm welcome from a three-year winner of UK Theatre’s Most Welcoming Theatre (2016-2018) and London Theatre of the Year 2020 (The Stage Awards) – it is the first Outer London theatre to receive this prestigious award from the arts newspaper.


25 February – 6 March 2021

A Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch production:

Sharon ‘n’ Barry do Romeo & Juliet

Directed by Douglas Rintoul

Live online (via private link):

Thursday, 25 February | 7.30pm
Friday, 26 February | 7.30pm
Saturday, 27 February | 4pm & 7.30pm

Monday, 1 March | 7.30pm
Tuesday, 2 March | 8.30pm
Wednesday, 3 March | 4pm
Thursday, 4 March | 2.30pm & 7.30pm
Friday, 5 March | 7.30pm
Saturday, 6 March | 4pm & 7.30pm

The play will last 75 minutes and can be accessed via Zoom.

YOUR NEWSRomeo and JulietNational Theatre

Romeo and Juliet
National Theatre

Romeo and Juliet – Jessie Buckley (Juliet) and Josh O’Connor (Romeo). Photo: National Theatre

You Wait for One, and Then… Three Come Along at Once!

By Paul Johnson

A single image has been released from the NT’s upcoming production of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, a feature film for broadcast on Sky Arts and PBS this April.

The image features Romeo, played by Josh O’Connor (The Crown, God’s Own Country) and Juliet, played by Jessie Buckley (Chernobyl, Judy), as they meet by moonlight at Juliet’s balcony. The image was taken during filming at the National Theatre.

The National Theatre has also announced that Olivier Award winner Adrian Lester (Life, Undercover) will play the Prince in the film. Also joining the cast is Lloyd Hutchinson as Lord Capulet, Colin Tierney as Lord Montague and Ella Dacres as Peta. As previously announced, the cast also features Fisayo Akinade as Mercutio, Deborah Findlay as the Nurse, Tamsin Greig as Lady Capulet, Lucian Msamati as the Friar, Shubham Saraf as Benvolio, David Judge as Tybalt, Alex Mugnaioni as Paris and Ellis Howard as Sampson.

Directed by Simon Godwin (Twelfth Night, Antony and Cleopatra), Romeo & Juliet has been reconceived for the screen and this new 90-minute film was recorded over three weeks in the NT’s Lyttelton theatre. Filming took place in December under the COVID-19 safe working filming guidance and code of practices. The play has been adapted for screen by Emily Burns.

The premiere will take place on Easter Sunday, 4 April at 9pm on Sky Arts in the UK and Friday 23 April 9pm on PBS in the US. Sky Arts is free-to-air and available for everyone in the UK on Freeview channel 11.

Learning resources and digital content are also being produced by the NT for young people to explore the production of Romeo & Juliet and its creation, as well as an in-depth programme with schools across the UK as part of the NT’s Theatre Nation Partnerships initiative (further details to be announced). To find out more about the NT’s digital learning resources, visit:

Josh O’Connor is probably best known for playing Prince Charles in series three and four of The Crown. Before that he appeared in The Durrells on ITV and the television adaptation of Les Miserables on the BBC – where he played Marius.

Jessie Buckley first came to public notice in 2008 on the BBC’s Saturday night search for Nancy, in I’d Do Anything where she was eventually runner-up to Jodie Prenger.

Graduating from RADA in 2013 Jessie made a hugely successful and critically acclaimed move into non-musical acting. However, being able to sing is always useful as her standout portrayal as Rose-Lynn Harlan in Wild Rose demonstrated a couple of years ago.

Adrian Lester is also in the National Theatre’s 2013 production of Othello, which is currently available to watch on the National Theatre at Home streaming service:

Julius Gender-blind Casting in the West (Your News)

Julius Gender-blind Casting in the West (Your News)

By Jonathan Vickers

Cotswold Players ignore auditionees’ gender when casting Shakespeare’s famously tragic history play.

Our greatest playwright didn’t write many parts for women. In response to this unfairness, some companies have been experimenting in recent years with women playing traditionally male Shakespearean roles. But last autumn (2019), The South West’s Cotswold Players went one step further and decided to audition for all parts in their production of Julius Caesar on a ‘gender-blind’ basis. In other words, the society did not take account of an actor’s gender as a criterion for deciding what role they might play. Then, having cast the play, the Players made textual adjustments, to change the gender of the characters in the play to fit the gender of the actor chosen to play a particular role.

The results were not only surprising but also challenging and exciting. In a cast that was broadly balanced between men and women, the CPs had a female Julius Caesar, with a young male husband; and a female Brutus, with a wife of the same sex. This threw new light on the dynamics of the key relationships and freed the production from the shackles of traditional approaches to the story. It also required more changes to the text than were first expected. Many a ‘he’ and ‘him’ of course had to become ‘she’ and ‘her’. But familiar lines such as ‘friends, Romans, countrymen’ and ‘there is a tide in the affairs of men’ suddenly displayed a kind of sexism, which the creatives decided to eradicate.

This was not just a gimmick. Nor was it simply a pragmatic response to the fact that there are at least as many female as male actors in the theatre. The Cotswold Players wanted to find out if gender could be as unimportant as, say, nationality or skin colour in playing a role; they also wanted to encourage audiences to set aside gender prejudices, and to enjoy the play for its commentary on humanity.

To be sure, we had to make other changes too. It would not have been believable for women to be generals, dictators and senators in Republican Rome. So we brought the setting into the 21st Century, complete with mobile phones, video-conferences, webcams and live drone footage of battle. It was the use of technology, together with the play’s remarkable political relevance, that generated the most audience comment. Of the dozens, possibly hundreds, of items of feedback we received, not one commented on the issue of gender. We think this proves our point.

It is around twenty years since the RSC first cast a black actor as one of Shakespeare’s English kings. Today, colour-blind casting is commonplace in the professional theatre. We should like to think that we have started a ball rolling that will eliminate or, at least dilute, gender as a determining issue in casting too.

Calling all Writers (Your News)

Calling all Writers (Your News)

By Clare Glancy

As part of a new look for 2020, the Petersfield Shakespeare Festival is running an exciting creative writing competition to find amazing monologues and duologues which will be performed as curtain raisers for its centre-piece production of Romeo and Juliet.
Ever wondered why Montague fell out with Capulet? Ever wondered how Friar Lawrence knew so much about drugs? Ever wondered if the Nurse had children of her own?
Ever wondered… well if so, this is your opportunity to tell their story.
Organisers are looking for short pieces between 5 – 20 minutes in length, written from the point of view of any character from Romeo and Juliet. Discover their inner-most thoughts and feelings, consider how they came to be involved in the action and how the tragic events of the play may affect them.
Let your imagination – and your chosen characters – run wild. Take him, her or them wherever they need to go… and provide audiences with an entertaining new perspective from which to experience this classic play.
The winning entries will be workshopped and performed by members of our professional cast during the highly respected festival, which runs from 16 – 25 July in the beautiful grounds of Bedales School.
The competition is open to anyone over 14, and we will be delighted to receive all contributions, whatever your level of experience. Please don’t be afraid to have a go!
Further information about the Petersfield Shakespeare Festival can be found at:
Please send all entries and any queries to me, Clare Glancy & Lucy Hollis at or Rookham House, East Meon, Hants, GU32 1HT.
The closing date for submissions is Friday, 3rd April 2020.