Eight young people will be given the chance to perform alongside the Royal Shakespeare Company when Romeo and Juliet visits the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford.
Each of the young people attend schools in the RSC’s Associate Schools programme (Bradford College, St Bede’s, St Joseph’s Catholic College and Feversham College). This provides young people the chance to perform in professional productions as they tour local areas.
The Associate School’s Programme is the RSC’s partnership programme with regional theatres and schools across England. The ambition is to help encourage young people to experience and engage with the work of Shakespeare positively. Through the programme teachers learn to explore Shakespeare with their students in the way actors do in a rehearsal room, using dynamic, active approaches. We all remember dull lessons reciting lines of Shakespeare, so it’s great young people are being given the chance to explore Shakespeare in a more fun way! It’s particularly aimed at schools in areas of high socio-economic deprivation, so all children regardless of background will be able to appreciate and enjoy Shakespeare.
Damien O’Keeffe, who leads the work of the Associate Schools programme at Bradford College, said: “The relationship that we have built up with the RSC over the last two years has provided some fantastic opportunities for young people in Bradford schools. To get the chance to join the company of Romeo and Juliet on the main stage of The Alhambra is amazing. We are proud of our young performers and there is a real buzz around this project. We are looking forward to them showcasing their talents.”
In Romeo and Juliet the group will share the role of Chorus with the professional cast – divided into two teams of four, each team will perform 3 or 4 times. This gives their folks and friends plenty of time to see them take centre stage!
Erica Whyman, the production’s director, said: “By inviting these young people to join us on stage I want to celebrate the diverse talent of the UK and highlight the revolutionary heart of this most timeless love story.”
Robin Belfield, RSC Young People’s Performance Developer, said: “We worked with the Alhambra Theatre and associate schools to choose the young people to take part in this exciting project. We were looking for young people who have a passion for theatre, enjoy the challenge of performing Shakespeare, and are able work collaboratively within a company of actors.”
The professional cast in this production of Romeo and Juliet include Karen Fishwick as Juliet and Bally Gill as Romeo. Catch the show at Bradford Alhambra from 12th-16th February.