Romford theatre company celebrates 60 years with Shakespeare park performance

CAST OF THE TEMPEST

The Romford Shakespeare Theatre's cast of The Tempest - Credit: Sandra Rowse

A Romford theatre company is celebrating its 60th anniversary by putting on a William Shakespeare play in Gidea Park.  

Founded in 1962, the Romford Shakespeare Theatre (RST) marked its diamond anniversary by performing The Tempest at The Rockery in Raphael Park on June 30 and July 2 and 3.  

PROSPERO & PRINCE FERDINAND

Colin Richardson as Prospero and Josh McLean as Prince Ferdinand - Credit: Sandra Rowse

Further performances are set to be held on July 7, 8 and 9 at 8pm. 

The play is about magic, betrayal, love and forgiveness and is thought to have been written by Shakespeare around 1610-1611.   

MIRANDA & PROSPERO

Alice Gill as Miranda and Colin Richardson as Prospero - Credit: Sandra Rowse

Chairperson of the RST and Havering Arts Council, Chrisse O’Connor, said the show is a great way to celebrate the company's anniversary.  

Chrissie said the play has taken RST five years to plan and been delayed by two years due to the pandemic.  

“It’s been a long time in the making, so it’s a great year to be able to come back and celebrate our anniversary with the show as the celebration,” said Chrissie.   

PROSPERO & CALIBAN

Colin Richardson as Prospero and Lindsay Hollingsworth as Caliban - Credit: Sandra Rowse

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Choosing The Tempest meant creating a show that’s “magical and has some comedy elements as well as slightly darker moments”, which Chrissie said suits a performance on The Rockery.  

She said: “In the evening, you have all the lights and the trees look very beautiful with the colours changing.”  

Romford Shakespeare Theatre

Attending an evening performance offers an opportunity to enjoy the show's coloured stage lighting - Credit: Romford Shakespeare Theatre

Romford Shakespeare Theatre

Colin Richardson as Prospero with Kathryn Waters as Ariel - Credit: Romford Shakespeare Theatre

RST will be sponsored for the next five years by Impact Capital Group, which is set to build on the former Romford Ice Rink and has made an agreement with Havering Arts Council to work on visual arts projects for the site.

LINDSAY HOLLINGSWORTH CALIBAN

Linsay Hollingsworth as Caliban - Credit: Sandra Rowse

Chrissie said it’s “so expensive to put on the show in the park”, with the cost of this production around £11,000.  

She said she is very grateful to both Impact Capital Group and RST's previous sponsors Clemence Hoar Cummings LLP for supporting the theatre company.  

Throughout the performance, technology such as lighting and microphones are being used to bring the centuries-old play into the modern day.  

ARIEL & PRINCE FERDINAND

Kathryn Waters as Ariel and Josh McLean as Prince Ferdinand - Credit: Sandra Rowse

Chrissie added: “It’s a great opportunity to enjoy Shakespeare in a very pretty setting and support a local theatre company that is celebrating 60 years.”  

In a bid to discover the history of the RST, Chrissie is asking anyone who may have old RST photos or programmes to share them with her at romfordshakespearetheatre@yahoo.com. 

SEBASTIAN = ANDREW CHESNEYANTONIA = CHARLII RICHARDSON

Sebastian is played by Andrew Chesney, while Antonia is played by Charlii Richardson - Credit: Sandra Rowse

Tickets can be booked at https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/whats-on/essex/the-rockery-raphael-park/the-tempest/e-vebdgl