12 Feb Update on new plans for spring 2021
Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory (sft) Update on new plans for spring 2021
In October 2020 we were grateful to receive a DCMS and Arts Council England Cultural Recovery Fund (CRF) grant of £50,000, covering 6 months to March 2021, as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion CRF to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. This vital funding has assisted us to strengthen and adapt our planning in light of the impact of Covid-19. It has enabled the freelance engagement of Elizabeth Freestone to help develop new and energised artistic and business programming plans. Elizabeth directed our celebrated productions of Henry V in 2018 and Much Ado About Nothing in 2019, marking our 20th anniversary.
Funding has also allowed us to appoint two new Associate Artist roles to work with stf on our core values with an emphasis on mental health and wellbeing.
Amy Rockson, Associate Artist has almost thirty years’ acting experience. For stf, Amy performed as Titania and Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Andrew Hilton (2010) and Montjoy in Henry V directed by Elizabeth Freestone. (2018). She is an RSC alumna; and as a voiceover artist, she narrates audiobooks and performs radio drama. Amy recently qualified as an NLP Master Practitioner and hypnotherapist.
Heather Williams, Associate Artist has over forty years’ experience working in theatre as an actor and director. She is an accredited clinical hypnotherapist. She performed in and directed numerous productions at Bristol Old Vic and in addition was Director of Education and Youth Theatre for eight years. From 2004 to 2018 she was Artistic Director of Myrtle Theatre which gained a national reputation for its ground-breaking work in health and well-being.
Chris Donnelly, Associate Artist and Workshop Director continues to work with us on a freelance basis, currently offering online workshops to school, college and university students during lockdown. Chris is a professional trained actor who has led hundreds of workshops for stf since 2000, benefitting thousands of young people and adults. He has performed in many productions for stf, most recently as Pistol in Henry V directed by Elizabeth Freestone.
Spring 2021 – Podcast Series One: What Would Shakespeare Do?
To kickstart the new artistic programme we have planned a new podcast series – to be released in early spring!
What Would Shakespeare Do? looks at how our audiences and artists have been and continue to be affected by Covid-19, including interviews with contributors, audience members, actors sharing readings from Shakespeare’s plays, and a range of music and soundscapes. Each episode in the series includes contributions and readings from different actors from the company around the overarching theme:
‘What Would Shakespeare do. . . in a pandemic?’
Episode 1: Hopes and Dreams – by Heather Williams
An exploration of why our dreams have got more intense during the Pandemic.
With Kirris Riviere, Dorothea Myer-Bennett, Chris Donnelly and Dr Rachel Gillibrand, Psychologist and Clinical Hypnotherapist
Episode 2: Nature and Animals – by Amy Rockson
The pandemic is taking its toll on our mood and state of mind; nature and animals can lift our spirits.
With Melody Brown, Timothy Speyer and Suzy Gibbons-Mitchell.
Episode 3: Grief, Loneliness and Togetherness – by Chris Donnelly
A brief reflection on, and an exploration of, the themes of Loneliness and togetherness in our lives in lockdown.
With Zachary Powell, Saskia Portway and Corey Montague-Sholay
Episode 4: Leadership and Decision-making – by Luke Grant
‘Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.’ Henry IV, Part II, Act 3 Scene 1.
Luke Grant played York /Bourbon in our 2018 production of Henry V. More contributors announced soon.
PODCAST VOCAL CALL OUT – Please follow this link for instructions on how you can join our main podcast musical score. We hope audiences will take part to help us create something special! Deadline 5 March 2021.
stf Podcast – vocal call out!
Studio production, sound design and additional music by Chris Warner. Chris is a composer, sound designer and producer working across a range of media, from theatre and the concert stage, to television and film. Recent theatre work includes Much Ado About Nothing (2019) for Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory, projects at the RSC and the Lyric Belfast, and film work includes the soon to be released feature, The Mauritanian (BBC Films)
New Spring 2021 Performance
We will present a small live performance at Tobacco Factory Theatres (TFT) in late spring, 26-28 May 2021 –
Save the date! We will announce more details soon.
The performance will take place over 3 evenings, in front of a socially distanced audience of 65 people, (if Covid-19 restrictions allow). It will be live-streamed, allowing audiences at home and around the world to enjoy and take part.
The initial performance at TFT forms the first part of a new digital strand to our work. Throughout the year and beyond we will be offering exciting new performances in response to Shakespeare’s writing, engaging with our audiences online through live work, as well as creating an archive resource freely downloadable from our website.
2022 Touring Production
We have been touring our main productions anually since 2013, offering extended employment opprtunities to the many freelance actors and creatives we work with. We are currently planning, and fundraising towards, a touring production of a Shakespeare play hoped for early spring 2022. Please find more details of how you can support our work below this post. We look forward to announcing further details when confirmed.
Supporting stf during 2021
We hope you will be able to support our 2021 fundraising campaign and help to secure our future.
We are passionate about the impact the company has and the many opportunities we create for so many people who engage with us in a variety of ways including the freelance actors and creatives we work with, our audiences, participants and loyal supporters. Our artistic programme and engagement opportunities would be impossible without your ongoing support, particularly during such uncertain times for theatre and the arts generally.
Or consider joining as a Friend, Patron or Benefactor of stf or contact Executive Director Morag Massey for more information about how you can support stf.
Rehearsals: Henry V 2018 Directed by Elizabeth Freestone (pictured) Photo Credit Craig Fuller
Main Image: Amy Rockson as Titania and Chris Donnelly as Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed by Andrew Hilton (2010) Photo credit Toby Farrow