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Back Row (left to right) - Amie Burns Walker, Holly Beasley Garrigan, Lucy Grattan, Front Row (left to right) - Hannah Davies, Yoshika Colwell, Sarah Davies
Photo: James Drury
The Flanagan Collective’s take on one of Shakespeare’s most enduring tragedies, Romeo and Juliet, includes two of the company’s trademark twists: not only is the cast comprised of six women, but the play will also be performed in the historical setting of St Olave’s Church on Marygate, York. The production, in association with York Theatre Royal is part of the first annual York International Shakespeare Festival and will run from 7 – 23 May.
The cast assembled for the first read-through of the script at The Fleeting Arms on Gillygate in York on Wednesday 18 March, an ambitious new venue run by the Flanagan Collective as a temporary café bar and pop-up space for performances, rehearsals, workshops and auditions.
Directed by Alexander Wright, produced by Brian Hook and performed by Holly Beasley-Garrigan, Amie Burns Walker, Yoshika Colwell, Hannah Davies, Sarah Davies and Lucy Grattan, this contemporary production of Romeo and Juliet will be infused with live music, soaring harmonies and good, honest storytelling.
Director Alexander Wright said:
We want to make this a show for people – for communities and for social and sacred spaces. For a few hours we want this stunning building to be about young romance, about recklessness and about the sheer relevance of falling in love. We want to doff our caps to all those who have loved, lost or got stranded along the way. This is not a story of fate, for us it is a story of passion and energy and wearing our hearts on our sleeves.
Producer Brian Hook added:
The all-female company started as a political choice. Our industry doesn’t give a fair representation to women on stage - we’re as guilty of that as anyone else - so we wanted to do something about it. But each time we chat and talk, it gets more and more exciting. Meeting the cast, all together, yesterday was a sheer joy. There’s a lot of imagination, energy and adventure on the way.
Romeo and Juliet will be performed within the stunning 15th century surroundings of St Olave’s Church, following in the Flanagan Collective tradition of staging work in unusual and quirky venues. Their interpretation of A Christmas Carol has successfully filled public houses around the UK for the past three years and they brought Sherlock Holmes: A Working Hypothesis to the wonderfully ornate Council Chamber at the Guildhall, York.
York International Shakespeare Festival is brought about through an adventurous new partnership between York Theatre Royal, Parrabbola, and the University of York and takes place from 8 – 17 May at venues across York. With traditional retellings and original responses from both local and international production companies, the festival will explore the impact of Shakespeare over four hundred years after his final play.
Romeo and Juliet will run from Thursday 7 to Saturday 23 May and tickets are on sale now through the York Theatre Royal Box Office priced £18 to £14 (£1 transaction fee per booking) either securely online at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk or by calling Box Office on 01904 623568.