Shakespeare Show Goes On But Without Tracy ShawDate: 1 July 2003
Coronation Street actress Tracy Shaw (pictured) has pulled out of her follow-up to The Blue Room, in which she made her dramatic stage debut this past February (See News, 7 Nov 2002). Shaw was due to appear in an open-air production of As You Like It which opens tonight (1 July 2003) at Brighton's Royal Pavilion Gardens before continuing on tour until 7 September 2003, including a week at London's Holland Park
In a statement released to the media, her agent cited a heavy workload as the culprit, while adding that Shaw, whose troubled marriage has attracted intense tabloid attention, was "stressed and distressed concerning the unnecessary personal attacks on her and her family and friends by elements of the media, and this has undoubtedly contributed to her current state of exhaustion."
As You Like It producer RJ Williamson told Whatsonstage.com today that the show would go on as planned. Shaw's understudy Jenni Bowden, who has appeared in previous company offerings, will take over in the role of Celia. "Jenni is a much much more experienced Shakespearean actress than Tracy Shaw so I don't think it will affect the quality of the production at all," he said.
Nevertheless, the company will offer refunds to anyone who specifically booked tickets in order to see Shaw perform. The 18-strong company continues to feature fellow screen actress Emily Lloyd (best remembered for Wish You Were Here), who plays Ophelia in the twinned production of Hamlet.
The two open-air Shakespeares are performed in repertory. They continue at Brighton until 13 July before visiting to Nottingham Castle (15 July-10 August), London's Holland Park (12-17 August) and Leeds' Kirkstall Abbey (19 August-7 September).
Meanwhile, in other high-profile tour casting, Hollyoaks star Stefan Booth has had to withdraw from Summer Holiday earlier than planned and is replaced, as previously announced, by Darren Day (See News, 12 Jun 2003).
- by Terri Paddock