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Romeo & Juliet at Bristol Cathedral

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PlayFull Theatre Company have announced that they are to present a promenade interpretation of William Shakespeare's tragically romantic play, Romeo and Juliet, in the hallowed crypts and cloisters of the beautiful Bristol Cathedral. “The audience should be prepared to be immersed in the magical experience of lyrical language, authentic period costumes, vibrant acting and haughty music, all embraced by a poignant medieval atmosphere.”

Producer Ladi Emeruwa, says: “It will be a fascinating contrast to see students at the beginning of their artistic careers coincident with the version played by mature actors at the Bristol Old Vic.”

When Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet at the close of the sixteenth century, he created what has come to be seen as the archetypal love story of western culture. An impassioned portrait of young hearts adrift, his romantic tragedy has been a mainstay of the English theatrical tradition since its debut on the Jacobean stage. Four hundred years down the line, to encounter Romeo and Juliet remains as visceral and heart wrenching an experience as ever before. The city of Verona lies victim to a violent and deep-seated feud between its two great families, the Montagues and the Capulets. As their children, conditioned from birth to perpetuate the enmity, meet and fall in all-consuming love, their double lives become increasingly difficult to sustain. When Romeo is banished for the murder of Juliet’s choleric cousin Tybalt, and the abandoned Juliet is forced into an arranged marriage with a more suitable match, desperate times call for desperate measures.

Emeruwa, and Director, Emily Smith, are 3rd year students at the University of Bristol, studying law and English respectively, and have both been heavily involved in local amateur drama. Their main reason for mounting this production was that they felt the University had become somewhat disconnected from the local community and they wanted to re-establish the important theatrical link that was once there.

They determined that to stage something of real substance, they needed a larger budget than students are ordinarily given, so with the assistance of the Bristol University Business Angels, set out to construct a plan that would make the project commercially viable and attract the much needed financial support. Having secured investment, the couple set their sites on the Cathedral as the perfect space for their production and assembled a production team of 8 people, and a cast of nearly 30 of the brightest young actors in Bristol (all either University students or alumni), 8 choristers and 7 musicians.

After 5 months of incredible hard work, Emeruwa adds: “(we) are about to stage what promises to be one of the most exciting experiences of Romeo and Juliet ever performed! Due to the promenade nature of the production, there will be set pieces where I guarantee that the audience will feel as if they had been transported back to fair Verona where we will lay our scene.”

A documentary film team have been charting their journey over the past few months and will be recording the production as well.

More details are available on www.playfullproduction.co.uk. Whatsonstage.com southwest will be there to review this unique production, which plays at the Bristol Cathedral from 21 to 24 April 2010.


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