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Romford Summer Theatre stage popular Shakespeare comedy with a twist

PUBLISHED: 11:00 18 May 2018

Last year the Romford Summer Theatre performed William Shakespeare's A Midsummers Night's Dream in Raphael Park,

Last year the Romford Summer Theatre performed William Shakespeare's A Midsummers Night's Dream in Raphael Park,

Archant

Romford’s leading amateur thespians are set to stage one of William Shakespeare’s most famous comedies with a special twist this summer.

Titania with her fairies in last years performance of A Midsummers Night's Dream by the Romford Summer Theatre in Raphael Park,Titania with her fairies in last years performance of A Midsummers Night's Dream by the Romford Summer Theatre in Raphael Park,

Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew will be performed by the Romford Summer Theatre in Raphael Park’s Rockery Theatre from June 28 and July 7.

Since 1962, the Romford Summer Theatre (RST) has been putting on annual open-air performances of Shakespeare’s great works.

Chrissie O’ Connor, chairman of the RST told the Recorder: “The Taming of the Shrew is a pretty popular Shakespeare play which will hopefully attract our audiences this summer.”

The play tells the story of two sisters, Bianca and Katherina and their suitors.

Romford Summer Theatre's production of A Midsummer Night's DreamRomford Summer Theatre's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream

Hortensio, Gremio and Lucentio who is new in town, are three contenders trying to win the heart of the beautiful Bianca.

But before she can marry, her older, ‘shrewish’ sister Katherina must marry first.

Petruchio decides to marry Katherina and take on the challenge of taming her stubborn and headstrong personality.

After performing in a RST play last year, Colin Richardson, 55, from Wingletye Lane in Hornchurch, is returning to play the role of Hortensio.

The Romford Summer Theatre put on Comedy of Errors last June. Picture: Barry KirkThe Romford Summer Theatre put on Comedy of Errors last June. Picture: Barry Kirk

He said: “I loved it so much that I came back this year, and my wife, Louise and daughter, Charlii are also taking part in the production.

“I play the role of Hortensio, an older man who desperately believes he’s still a young man, basically he’s a badie in the play.”

The Taming of the Shrew is one of Shakespeare’s more controversial plays because of what some consider to be a misogynistic portrayal of the female characters.

However, Colin explained that the RST production presents the play in a different way than to what some Shakespeare fans might expect.

The Romford Summer Theatre put on Comedy of Errors last June. Picture: Barry KirkThe Romford Summer Theatre put on Comedy of Errors last June. Picture: Barry Kirk

“Graham Poulteney, the director has put in a very interesting angle which I will keep secret for the moment,” he said.

“The relationships between the characters are presented in a very different way that I haven’t seen before.

It’s arguably one of the most controversial plays, but it’s also very funny.

“There’s still a lot of comedy and many different interpretations to the play.”

Last year the Romford Summer Theatre performed William Shakespeare's A Midsummers Night's Dream in Raphael Park,Last year the Romford Summer Theatre performed William Shakespeare's A Midsummers Night's Dream in Raphael Park,

For more than half a century the RST has been putting on outdoor performances, which adds an extra dramatic element to the staging of the plays.

Colin said: “[The Rockery] is so different from a normal stage, there are many different entrances and exits. We rehearse every Sunday in the park, to go through the movements and see how the play will work outdoors.

“It’s all very natural, and you’re very much in touch with the audience.”

Chrissie, who also takes 
part in the Havering Arts Festival, added: “Last year
 we did A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream and it went very well. We were very lucky with the weather, because with most performances we get rained 
off at least once.”

Romford Summer Theatre's production of A Midsummer Night's DreamRomford Summer Theatre's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream

“It’s an interesting community, there is quite a bit of overlap between the different drama groups.

“The Havering Arts Festival is very friendly and we are always supporting each other and lending each other props and costumes.”

Colin, who is also part of another drama group called 
The Wesley Hall players, describes the community as a “family”.

“It’s massively community orientated drama,” he said.

“Before this my experience was mostly in comedies and pantomimes and this was one of the reasons why I wanted to join RST.

“I hope to be back for years to come. For every new play we do, I learn more about Shakespeare.”

Clemence Hoar Cummings, a leading accountancy firm in Como Street is supporting and sponsoring the theatre group.

David Belbin, managing partner at the firm said: “We are very excited to once more be supporting this brilliant theatre group.

“Year after year they continue to put on impressive shows that bring merriment to the large audiences that visit the park to enjoy their performances.

“We would like to wish them the best of luck with their latest season.”

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