Queen’s Theatre once again teams up with National Theatre for musical adaptation of Shakespeare play
- Credit: National Theatre
A Shakespeare play will be brought to life with the help of more than 100 members of communities around London at the end of the month.
The National Theatre is once again teaming up with Queen's Theatre, Hornchurch, for the Public Acts initiative which will put on a musical adaptation - created by Shaina Taub and Laurie Woolery - of As You Like It.
Vedi Roy, who will be playing Touchstone, the court jester, in the production, said: "My character is very cheeky and let's say, very sharp tongued.
"He's a cynical kind of character but this changes by the end of the play.
"I am absolutely excited to get on stage and share this brilliant adaptation with our audiences."
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As You Like It tells the story of how Orlando, Duke Senior, his daughter Rosalind - who is fleeing from persecution - and niece Celia are forced from their homes and escape to the Forest of Arden where they are accepted by a new community.
This adaptation will have a score ranging from calypso and pop, to Broadway and soul so there will be plenty of music to keep audiences entertained throughout the performance.
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Vedi has been performing since the age of three and has trained as a dancer at DNA Studios and an actor at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts.
He was also part of the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme which offers talented directors training, with an opportunity to direct their own show.
His production was Miss Meena and the Masala Queens, which told the story of a British Asian drag queen and was performed at the Watford Palace Theatre two years ago.
But now he's turning his attention to acting with the cast of As You Like It, believed to have been written by the Bard in 1599.
This UK premiere sees more than 100 community members, professional actors and performance groups from across London come together for this magical tale of faithful friends, feuding families and lovers in disguise.
Public Acts is the National Theatre's new initiative to create extraordinary acts of theatre with different communities across London.
The scheme was originally inspired by Public Works, the Public Theatre's ground-breaking programme in New York and is supported by Arts Council England's Strategic Touring Fund, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Hertz and Garfield Weston Foundation.
Pericles, which is another of Shakespeare's works, was the first Public Acts production that was performed at the National Theatre last year.
The community partners for Public Acts include the Queen's Community Group from the Billet Lane theatre, Haswa (Havering Asian Social and Welfare Association), homelessness charity Thames Reach, Open Age which champions an active life for the older generation and interfaith organisation The Faith and Belief Forum.
Vedi said: "The community performers had been in rehearsals a little longer than the professionals and where they were practising has pictures of the professionals on the wall so when we came in they all knew us, it was like we were famous!
"I've loved working with people who are all from different backgrounds, who haven't been involved in theatre before and watching them and seeing how much they enjoy what they're doing.
"It's been an amazing experience - there's something really powerful hearing more than 100 people singing at the same time and I think the audience is going to love it too."
As You Like It will be performed at the Queen's Theatre from Saturday, August 24, to Tuesday, August 27.
Ticket prices start at £15 and the evening show begins at 7pm.
Vedi said: "If people want to experience love, if people want to experience joy and if people want to experience hearing more than 100 people singing and performing then they need to come and see the show."
For more information about As You Like It, visit queens-theatre.co.uk