‘I love how we inject fun’

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CYCLING into town is a group of actors keen to share their passion for travelling theatre.

The HandleBards​, the world’s first cycling theatre company and front-runners in sustainable theatre, are coming to Fareham for a performance from their all-female production of Romeo and Juliet.

HandleBards (from left)  Charlotte Driessler, Sian Green, Lucy Green and Eleanor Chaganis

HandleBards (from left) Charlotte Driessler, Sian Green, Lucy Green and Eleanor Chaganis

The troupe began in 2013 when the friends met at university and now tour over 120 venues across the UK from May to September​ with an all-male production of Twelfth Night​ and an all-female production of Romeo and Juliet​.

Charlotte Driessler, Sian Green, Eleanor Chaganis and Lucy Green will take on all the roles in the star-crossed-lovers tale during an outside performance at Westbury Manor Musuem on September 7 with Nel Crouch​, Artistic Director of the multi-award-winning Bucket Club, directing.

Both casts consist of only four actors, with the fast-paced multi-rolling​ that’s therefore required to perform the plays gives The HandleBards their unique brand of irreverent comedy.

Charlotte Driessler trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, who she represented at Shakespeare’s Globe during the Sam Wanamaker Festival 2016.

She said: ‘My favourite thing about The HandleBards is rewarding yourself after a full day of cycling with a Shakespeare performance outdoors in the summer sun or rain if it’s England.’

Guildford School of Acting graduate Sian Green is no stranger to The Bard taking to the stage in Macbeth with Young Shakespeare Company and Twelfth Night at Blue Elephant Theatre.

She said: ‘I just love the great outdoors, the silliness, the endless potential for awful bike puns – I wheelie love Shakespeare.’

To date, The HandleBards have pedalled over 7,000 miles​ and performed to over 70,000

people, across 12 countries and three continents.

Director Nel added: ‘I love how the HandleBards manage to inject fun into every moment of a show, whilst still telling Shakespeare’s stories so clearly.’

The company also engages communities at their shows, partnering with environmentally-minded businesses and inviting local musicians to play at their shows.

As winners of the Edinburgh Fringe Sustainable Practice Award​, and nominees of The

Stage’s inaugural Sustainability Award​, ​The HandleBards are leading the charge towards a more sustainable British theatre scene cycling from venue to venue when they first create a new show.

The group are currently developing a nationwide tree-planting scheme to offset any carbon they produce during international or revival tours.

Producer Tom Dixon, said​: ‘We’re committed to demonstrating that everyone can play their part in looking after our world, but we’re also well aware that not everyone likes to be preached at.

‘That’s why we approach the subject with positivity, aiming to inspire others to make small changes to the way they live their own lives.

‘The UK is full of stunning areas of natural beauty, which we’re thrilled to be able to work in and help protect.’

The performance begins at 7pm and tickets are £15 for adults and £7.50 for under 16s.

To purchase tickets visit hampshireculture.org.uk/event/romeo-and-juliet-westbury-manor