The Theatre Royal Shakespeare Players are Cumbrian Shakespeare enthusiasts who believe that Shakespeare belongs to everyone, not just to watch but to perform. Over the last few years, they have benefited from workshops with several professional theatre practitioners, including Bardy Thomas and Jennie Buckman (former Dean of Studies and Head of Acting at RADA), who helped them prepare their first show ‘Shakespeare’s Christmas Party’ (selected scenes from several plays) in 2011.
In 2013, the group was selected for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Open Stages project, which provided professional training and mentoring for amateur actors and directors. They then put on their second show ‘Fanfare for the Common Wo/Man’ (selected scenes focusing on the ordinary people in Shakespeare’s plays, rather than the kings and queens) in early 2015. This was a great success, running for several nights at the Theatre Royal and going on tour to several village halls in Cumbria. The group was even invited to take the show down to Stratford-Upon-Avon, where they performed to enthusiastic audiences at the open-air Dell Theatre. In addition, two scenes from this show were selected for the Northwest Open Stages Showcase, held at the Contact Theatre in Manchester.
In Autumn 2015, the Workington Playgoers put on ‘Twelfth Night’ in full period costume, with a cast largely drawn from the Theatre Royal Shakespeare Players. To read a review, click here.
In 2016, to mark the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, the Theatre Royal Shakespeare Players put on their first full-length play, a modern-dress production of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’. This show again ran for several nights at the Theatre Royal and went on tour around village halls in Cumbria. To read a review, click here.