Rehearsals under way in Stage Two – photo supplied
Norfolk groups, including charities Fabba and The Hamlet and participants from Norwich Theatre creative engagement programmes, are bringing their own life experiences for a special production inspired by Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors to produce special drama production exploring the themes of celebration and identity.
The play they have created is called Feast and will be performed at Norwich Theatre Stage Two, on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 March.
Norwich Theatre is one of just six selected partner theatres across the UK working with Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) for an initiative called Shakespeare Nation. The aim is to generate new audiences and lovers of theatre, engaging those who would not usually think theatre or Shakespeare was for them.
Over the past six months, Norwich Theatre has worked closely with a number of community groups with the ambition to co-create a series of mini productions across the region, which have fed into this production taking place at Norwich Theatre Stage Two.
One of those groups is The Hamlet, which supports adults living with disabilities and complex health needs. Another is Fabba Theatre, which works with adults with additional needs based in Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft.
The group of performers, include people from Norwich Theatre’s creative engagement programmes, some of whom have never taken part in anything like this before. In addition to this, Norwich Forum Writers have contributed new pieces of writing to the carnival, and Norwich Theatre has held further writing workshops with the Wellbeing Service. Norwich Theatre also engaged students from East Coast College and the University of East Anglia to create media content.
Feast centres around the death of the Carnival King. His troupe of magnificent misfits celebrate his life at his final feast. Adriana, his wife, is torn between a quiet life and carnival queendom. His mistress, Courtia’s search for alimony is complicated by no one knowing how many children Asghar had. Meanwhile, Effy, the dead man’s daughter, grows into her big-girl pants when Balthasar, the bailiff, comes to liquidate.
Miche Montague, Director of Feast, said: “The show is a fast-paced comedy full of colour and carnival characters: we even have a human cannonball! Shakespeare’s themes remain as pertinent as ever – community, identity, power-play, corruption – so it’s not hard to introduce Shakespeare to a modern landscape.
“Shakespeare Nation is an extraordinary collaboration, bringing communities and individuals together to create and share, support and inspire. This project continues to offer a magical start to a lifelong love of Shakespeare and theatre. Roll up and share in this colourful celebration of community and identity!”