- Title: Shakespeare company opens garden theatre by river Avon
- Date: 13th July 2021
- Summary: STRATFORD-UPON-AVON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (JULY 13, 2021) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) ACTOR WITH THE ROYAL SHAKESPEARE COMPANY, GREG HAISTE, SAYING: "You know it's a beautiful spot here in Stratford. We're right by the river right here now, so we get some some heckling from some swans occasionally all that kind of stuff. But I guess this is what happened 400 years ago. You know, there weren't too many roofs around and stuff like that in theatre then. Like one of my favourite things about doing this kind of stuff is that it feels sort of timeless, really, no matter what the culture, what the country, people have always stood in a space and shared a few jokes. And it's just a really nice thing to be part of them. And after all this, there's a lovely line in the show, what is it? "After so long grief, such nativity", and it feels like everything's sort of coming back again and it's really cheering." ROOF OF THE SWAN THEATRE / STAGE / AUDIENCE MEMBERS SEATED AHEAD OF SHOW STARTING STAGE WITH CHAIRS SET UP (SOUNDBITE) (English) ACTRESS WITH THE ROYAL SHAKESPEARE COMPANY, AVITA JAY, SAYING: "It feels like a really kind of, a space where we can really connect with the audience, like we can see literally everyone and they're so close and you can lock eyes with them. And, um, yeah, it feels kind of perfect for the time that we're in." PEOPLE SITTING IN SEATS AHEAD OF SHOW STARTING MAN READING PROGRAMME VARIOUS OF PEOPLE SITTING WAITING FOR SHOW TO START (SOUNDBITE) (English) 71-YEAR-OLD RETIREE FROM SHEFFIELD, JENNIFER HERRETT, SAYING: "We're very pleased that there's some live theatre that's going to be able to go ahead. Yes. And I hope they might continue it next summer. And it seems a good idea to have it open during the summer months." (SOUNDBITE) (English) RETIRED TEACHERS FROM LINCOLNSHIRE, RICHARD AND PAT POLLITT, SAYING: PAT: "I think, because we're so used to being outside in the fresh air and you'll just feel safe and evening like that's where we've come prepared with waterproof coats and everything." VIDEO OF PEOPLE SEATED AND PEOPLE SITTING DOWN VARIOUS OF PEOPLE SEATED AHEAD OF SHOW
- Embargoed: 27th July 2021 22:57
- Keywords: Royal Shakespeare Company Stratford The Comedy of Errors coronavirus social distancing theatre
- Location: STRATFORD-UPON-AVON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
- City: STRATFORD-UPON-AVON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Arts/Culture/Entertainment,Europe,Theatre
- Reuters ID: LVA006ELOBOEX
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Britain's Royal Shakespeare Company opened an outdoor theatre with a new version of "The Comedy of Errors" on Tuesday (July 13), its first such full scale production in front of a live audience in over a year.
Based in playwright William Shakespeare's birthplace of Stratford-upon-Avon, the company, known as the RSC, built the Lydia & Manfred Gorvy Garden Theatre outside its Swan Theatre by the River Avon.
"The Comedy of Errors" had been due to begin performances in April 2020, but the RSC, like theatres across Britain and elsewhere, had to close its doors to live audiences due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The production has now been adapted by director Phillip Breen for the new temporary open-air venue.
"It's a beautiful spot here ... right by the river, so we get some heckling from some swans occasionally," actor Greg Haiste, who plays Dromio of Ephesus, said.
Under Prime Minister Boris Johnson's roadmap out of lockdown, entertainment venues in England have been welcoming audiences back since mid-May though at 50% capacity. From Monday, they will no longer face restrictions on numbers.
The RSC's garden theatre can sit 500 people - or 310 with social distancing.
"I felt there were two really powerful reasons to build this theatre, one of which was as a sort of symbol of regeneration ... but also as a transition so that people will feel very comfortable sitting outside in the open air," RSC artistic director Gregory Doran told Reuters.
"And that might then give them more confidence when we open (musical) 'The Magician's Elephant' in October in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre to move back indoors."
One visitor to the new theatre, 71-year-old Jennifer Herrett from Sheffield, hoped the temporary space would reopen in summers to come while others said they felt safe to be watching a show outside.
In London's West End, major productions including hit musicals such as "Jersey Boys" and "The Lion King" have been waiting for July 19 to be able to fully reopen as operating at 50% capacity is not financially viable.
(Production: Will Russell, Mindy Burrows, Marie-Louise Gumuchian)
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