Celebrated Sussex Shakespeare goes online - and you can take part!

Keen and aspiring amateur or student Shakespeareans can join professional actors in four special July events in Worthing – when the stage will become a screen of webcam performing stations.

Thursday, 25th June 2020, 2:00 pm
Rainbow Shakespeare in more outdoor days
Rainbow Shakespeare in more outdoor days

Spokesman Richard Amey said: “The Rainbow Shakespeare live open-air theatre fortnight in Worthing’s Highdown Gardens is countering COVID by going online into the home screens and phones of its audience, who will be setting up their Highdown outdoor picnics indoors.

“They are winging it and what’s more, it’s participatory. The plays will be read instead of staged, and Shakespeare fans are invited to be among the readers – first-come-first-served, no application fee, no audition, no rehearsal – although they will be coached over the phone, ahead of the day, by Rainbow artistic director Nick Young.

“Not theatre as we know it, but definitely characters in close-up. After Rainbows in street windows comes Rainbow Shakespeare 2020 Live Online in window frames on screens.

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“Not two plays as normal, but four – two comedies, two tragedies. Not a fortnight but four nights only, each at 7.30pm – with the audience watching these light-touch presentations live streamed on Rainbow’s new YouTube channel.

“It’s Romeo and Juliet (Friday, July 17), Much Ado About Nothing (Saturday, July 18), Macbeth (Friday, July 24), As You Like It (Saturday, July 25) . . . a fourfold 21st anniversary celebration of Rainbow’s Highdown residency – in which anything can happen, with a definite flavour of fun in the air.

“Rainbow Shakespeare 2020 Live Online will raise funds towards the £2,000 needed to re-schedule next year its originally-intended outdoor programme of The Tempest and the Merry Wives of Windsor.

“ Watching and acting, and enjoying the Bardic word-play and amusement is free. No subscription will be requested but Rainbow has an appeal for voluntary public donations via gofundme at gf.me/u/x8ff4v.”

Richard added: “During the play intervals, cast members and Nick Young will be interviewed. The YouTube channel link can be found on the Rainbow Theatre website and Facebook page. Participating public can apply to read by emailing [email protected] (giving full name, home town and chosen play or plays)

Nick said: “This is something we’ve never done before but in these crazy times it keeps alive the spirit of Rainbow – which is something ever more people tell me they feel Highdown Gardens is now imbued with, on the days throughout the year we’re not performing there.

“Many audience members say that seeing our productions are the high spot that makes their year. This is celebrating all that.

“We are trying something like the experimental play reading London’s Globe Theatre did a few weeks ago. I just want it to be lively and fun. Some of our audience’s favourite Rainbow Shakespeare professionals including Ross Muir, Alexandra Parker, Simon Pennicott and Josh Lawson, will take the leads, and I will be calling the amateurs, who respond to our invitation, to talk about their roles.”

Richard added: “That will be priceless advice. Nick, who lives not far from Highdown, has long been among the nation’s leading Shakespearean directors. His actors are trained to understand how not to intone the text with pretence or complication, so it can be quickly understood by the audience.

“And his production settings also score heavily by remaining traditional.

“He has former professional colleagues living in San Francisco and Sydney he may invite to take part.

“So Rainbow’s Shakespeare this year could be not only hitting the internet for the first time, but from three continents.”

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