It seems like only the other day that I was talking about the variety of roles that life throws up for me and here comes another unusual experience.
A couple of years ago, on one of my regular visits to Stratford-Upon-Avon to take a view on whatever was their latest production at that time, I was struck by an idea whilst I was in my hotel room. It was a germ of an idea about an overview of Shakespeare’s plays meant as an introduction to the Bard’s plays for 9-13 year olds. It would include period music and good actors – and it would be based in a theatre space that I’m helping to develop in Hammersmith, London. It would seek to have two objectives. Firstly, it would promote the reading and performing of Shakespeare’s plays amongst young people by making them come alive on the stage in an atmospheric and ambient way. Secondly, it would raise questions based upon the content of the plays that would then flow into the things that I was seeking to highlight in my ongoing schools work which would then flow for several months after the performances.
I filed the idea some where in the back of my mind. I have a lot of them and most of them come to little.
Curiously, on the same day, I got involved into discussion with a screenwriter and actor called Garrick (nice Shakespearian name) who was very enthusiastic about his own projects in Stratford-Upon-Avon, some of which I thought I could help with. Carried along by his enthusiasm I described the thoughts that I’d been having that morning, only to find that he thought there was a good idea somewhere and he offered to get involved in some way if it came together.
Later, I walked past a group of folk musicians doing a street performance of something that sounded very like mediaeval and Elizabethan music. I offered to take them out for dinner because I thought I might have some work for them. It turned out they were from the Czech Republic so there were some language issues involved but by the end of the meal, they were on board too.
Over the last 18 months, there are have been some stumbling blocks. The theatre space still isn’t built. In fact, as I speak the foundations are being sunk which just speaks volumes about how red tape can scupper the best laid plans. Garrick dropped out at some point and a few actors came and went.
But despite all this, the Shakespearience will finally be performed, in various venues across Hammersmith, Acton and Fulham next week. Flights and journeys’ ends are awaited, hotel rooms are confirmed, the tour bus is booked and we have six dates ahead of us. Wonder how it all will work out?