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Ash-Stranded York Actors Rehearse Via Web

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The chaos caused by Iceland’s volcanic eruption has affected the rehearsal of York Theatre Royal’s company in residence, Belt Up Theatre.

Due to start rehearsals for their upcoming show Lorca is Dead: or a brief history of surrealism this Monday, 19 April, the company were forced to assemble in depleted numbers, with three cast members stranded across the globe.

Lucy Farrett, who plays Gala Dali found herself stuck in Belgium, Patrick Fysh, who takes the role of Louis Aragon, was lost in China and James Wilkes, who plays Salvador Dali was left tweaking his (fake) moustache on a desert island in the Seychelles.

Confronted with such an unavoidable obstacle, in Wilkes' case a 10,000km separation, Belt Up Theatre were forced to stage rehearsals over the internet, using youtube, webcams and emails to connect the ensemble.

Highlighting the "surreal but fitting" quality of the situation, a press release from the company comments on the "unexpected but fittingly surreal twist for rehearsals". Company Director James Wilkes added, "It's the first time I've ever rehearsed sat under a palm tree in view of a giant tortoise!"

The cast are currently making their way back using various forms of transport. Wilkes is hoping to get a flight to Paris, before traveling by train to York, in time for Lorca is Dead rehearsals. The show itself, written and directed by Dominic J. Allen, is at York Theatre Royal from 5 to 8 May.

Set up in 2008, Belt Up theatre have been resident at York Theatre Royal since September. They are "committed to producing fearless, adventurous and playful work that places its audience at the centre of the wholly encompassing world of the production."

They have an impressive 15 individual productions under their belt as well as the Edinburgh International Festival award in 2008. The Tartuffe premiered as part of their acclaimed programme for The Red Room - a unique immersive theatre venue at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2008.

- Vicky Ellis


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