Orange Tree Theatre today announce that their annual education project Shakespeare Up Close, which offers secondary school students the opportunity to see Shakespeare’s plays performed, will go ahead this year, taking place online with new abridged productions of Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth made available to schools digitally. The project marks the first Orange Tree Theatre productions in almost a year.
Bec Martin, Education & Participation Director said today, “I am so thrilled to be directing the Orange Tree’s first production in nearly a year. And I am even more thrilled that this production is for young people. Participation and Engagement is becoming even more vital as we reckon with a world without live theatre. The events of the last year have disproportionally affected our young people and it feels significant that while we can’t offer this production in person as we would normally, we are able to provide an accessible and engaging production in a digital medium.”
Paul Miller, Artistic Director, also commented “Education and Participation has long been at the centre of the OT’s work, and not being able to connect with the more than 10,000 young people that we regularly engage with has been agonising. So I am delighted that Bec Martin’s brilliantly imaginative new versions of two plays at the heart of the curriculum will be made available to schools, to GCSE students and more widely too. It’s the start of the OT’s return to making work, and it couldn’t be more fitting that this is where we begin: I can’t wait.”
Bec Martin directs Zena Carswell, Cat Kolubayev, Enoch Lwanga, Jordan Turner and Jazmine Wilkinson in both productions. All rehearsals and filming will be conducted in a Covid secure environment in line with current government guidelines.
Both productions feature design by Jessica Staton, lighting design by Chris McDonnell, sound design by Nicola Chang and movement by Laura Dredger.
Bec Martin has been Education & Participation Director of the Orange Tree since January 2020. She has been a producer, director, actor and co-founder of award-winning Australian theatre company pantsguys Productions. She was previously Participation Manager at the Arcola Theatre and Head of Theatre and Performance at VAULT Festival. As a director, she has directed for Arcola Theatre, Southwark Playhouse, RSC Education, The Shakespeare Institute, independently and internationally. She trained at Actors Centre Australia and the National Institute of Dramatic Art, and has a Masters in Shakespeare Studies from the Shakespeare Institute. She has taught in the UK, Australia, Ireland and the USA.
Zena Carswell’s theatre credits include Pericles (Gatehouse Theatre, Zamek Valtice), Macbeth (Young Shakespeare Company), The Importance of Being Earnest (Immersion Theatre), I Know You of Old, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (RSC), Tomorrow Creeps, Butter, There’s a Monster in the Lake (VAULT Festival), Othello (The English Theatre of Hamburg), Painting (White Bear Theatre), Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Henry V (Merely Theatre), After All This, Paved with Gold, Are We Okay? (Ovalhouse), Conflict Tourism (Baron’s Court Theatre), The Colouring Book (Bush Theatre), Walking (The Space), and A Cairo Classroom (Etcetera Theatre).
Cat Kolubayev’s theatre credits include The Pitmen Painters (New Vic Theatre), Read My Lips (Colony Theatre LA, Jerry Orback Theatre NY), The Duchess of Malfi (Shakespeare’s Globe), and Dracula (Lion and Unicorn Theatre). For television, her credits include The Last Kingdom and Downton Abbey.
Enoch Lwanga’s previous credits for the Orange Tree Theatre include The Merchant of Venice as part of Primary Shakespeare. Other theatre credits include How We Love (Vaults Festival, Airlock Theatre), Philip Pullman’s Grimm Tales, Othello (Unicorn Theatre), and Tomorrow I’ll Be Twenty (Complicite).
Jordan Turner’s theatre credits include Emily Brown and the Thing, Alfie White: Space Explorer (Tall Stories), We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (Lyric Theatre), 12 Million Volts, The Mission (The Outbound Project), Now You See Me, Now You Don’t (Immediate Theatre). The Selfish Giant (Arcola Theatre) and Animal Farm (Tree Folk Theatre).
Jazmine Wilkinson’s theatre credits include The Border (Theatre Centre, UK tour), Shakespeare In Love (Theatre Royal Bath, UK tour), Gilgamesh (White Bear Theatre), Shadow Games (UK tour), Christmas at Kew (The Walking Theatre Company), and Threeway (Edinburgh Festival Fringe). For television, her credits include Surprise Surprise.
How to access: both productions will be available online through orangetreetheatre.co.uk to schools to watch by purchasing for a one-off fee from late March. A public performance will be made available at a later date.