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One of the three founder member of Creative Cow is Katherine Senior – who plays Kitty and Donna Lucia in this production of Brandon Thomas' Charley's Aunt. She tells us a bit about the company and the play which is on tour nationally from 9 April until 29 June.

It is set in 1892 and dashing Oxford undergraduates Jack and Charley are preparing to propose to Amy and Kitty, but a chaperone is needed or the girls will refuse their lunch invitation. As luck would have it, Charley’s aunt is arriving from Brazil (where the nuts come from) and will happily serve the purpose.

However, a telegram declares that her trip is delayed so their plans are in disarray until they hit upon the idea that Lord Fancourt Babberley, their good chum, should put on a frock and assume her identity. It premiered at the Theatre Royal Bury St. Edmunds on 29 February 1892 and we are over the moon that our tour visits the very theatre where it was first staged.

Why did you choose this particular play?
We need to choose plays that we believe we can do justice to and our fast paced and somewhat stylized approach offers up a great concoction for plays such as this. We have a great group of actors for this show and it’s been a lot of fun in rehearsals. Our director relishes the madness of a farce and we hope that audiences will enjoy our production of this much loved British classic.

What is it that drives the company’s creativity?
The core company is very small, just three creatives – two actors and an artistic director. It means the artistic drive and philosophy is crystal clear – to create honest, entertaining and powerful pieces of theatre. There has never been a need to sit down and discuss an aim or mission statement as we came together simply because we wanted to produce quality productions and the "style" was born out of an utterly organic process. We do feel that we have bucket-loads of tenacity, passion and the creativity to always deliver top-notch versions of classic plays on a shoestring.

So, why Creative Cow?
The name Creative Cow came about because our director Amanda lives on a farm in the valleys of Devon and her husband is a rare-breed cattle farmer. We rehearse on the farm, literally. The cows are back out in the fields, which means we can squat in their winter abode, which is a very, very large cow shed and yes, it’s outdoors!

When the sun is shining and it’s warm, you feel very lucky rehearsing in such beautiful surroundings. When it’s torrential rain, however, you have to wear an additional layer of clothes, work harder and shout louder!!...or give up and…seek shelter inside…

You have an association with the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford for this production. Tell us more about this.
We have been touring to the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre for four years and we are making our debut on its main stage with Charley’s Aunt. The theatre is a great support to the company and very keen to offer advice and assistance in any way they can: the help we get is through technical, marketing and administrative support, for which we are very grateful. We are very excited to be using one of their very talented lighting designers for Charley’s Aunt.

Last year you toured a revival of The Rivals. This spring it’s another famous play from the past? What is it about reviving classic plays that so interests you – and your audiences?
We choose plays that are established, predominately because they are tried and tested vehicles. There is just as much reason to do classic plays as there is to do new writing – they each have their place in the theatre. Over the years we have taken a number of modern pieces on the road too and had great success with them.

But the older plays must continue to be woken up with fresh ideas and innovative productions, because they need to be enjoyed by new audiences otherwise they will stay on the bookshelf never to be seen again. There will be a lot of people who have already seen the play perhaps a number of times which gives weight to the purpose of producing them. They are classics for a reason – it’s because in their own right, they are brilliant pieces of theatre.


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