Matthew Burns

GCSE DRAMA GROUPS MEET MANCHESTER DIRECTOR

A group of 20 Sedbergh School GCSE Drama pupils saw the new Romeo and Juliet production in Manchester’s Victoria Baths last week and met with the Director before the show.

The company’s unusual location for this production is in the lead-up to the opening of the £25m centre for theatre, film and art, in Spring 2015. Romeo and Juliet was directed by Walter Meierjohann, HOME’s Artistic Director.

The production, part-promenade, and part seated, took place at three locations in the baths, allowing the pupils to get close to the action. They had the chance to experience the haunting design by acclaimed designer Ti Green. 

Romeo was played by Alex Felton, who came to Manchester fresh from playing Lysander in the Bristol Old Vic’s world tour of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, while Sara Vickers, who was recently seen as Joan Thursday in ITV’s Inspector Morse spin-off, Endeavour, took on the role of Juliet.

“The common thread we’re interrogating in our site-specific programme is the idea of belonging,” says Meierjohann, “and our take on Romeo and Juliet is a contemporary fairy tale, set in a menacing and violent criminal underworld of Eastern Europe. Romeo & Juliet is a story of love, hatred, and revenge, and we could not have a more evocative and atmospheric setting than the stunning Victoria Baths.”

Cathy Want, Director of Drama said: “Students have returned from this trip really inspired by the whole experience. Having access to the creative team, particularly Walter Meierjohann, before the show helped them appreciate the process and artistic decisions behind the production.

They saw how Shakespeare can be made relevant to today’s world and were riveted by the visceral, beautiful and sometimes quite overwhelming performances given. The site-specific, promenade nature of the show has really opened their eyes to new theatrical possibilities. We all wanted to go again but alas it is sold out!”

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