Wirral’s Hand In Hand Theatre: Winners of All England Theatre Festival Semi-Finals.

Posted on 6 May 2016
By Chris High
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Wirral based theatre company Hand In Hand Theatre have won the Northern final of the All England Theatre Festival and are now off to English Final in Maidenhead in June. Last weekend Hand In Hand Theatre won the Leverhulme Theatre Festival and then returned to the Gladstone Theatre, Port Sunlight, to represent Merseyside in the AETF Semi – Finals.

Part of the RSC Open Stages in this the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, this mad cap whirlwind of Shakespearean plays, characters and quotes is a “visual and aural feast” likened to a mix of Reduced Shakespeare, Horrible Histories and Cirque du Soleil. Be fair, can’t get any madder than that.

A 16 strong cast clown their way through this clever, inventive and entertaining piece and with 23rd April 2016 seeing the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, across the world, theatre companies, local groups, schools and many other organisations are busy celebrating with performances of The Bard’s work or other Shakespeare-themed productions.

The RSC will be touring A Midsummer Night’s Dream and working with amateur groups and local schools across the UK. Hand in Hand Theatre have been involved with the RSC Open Stages project since 2012 when they presented After The Dream – a modern sequel to A Midsummer Night’s Dream and again in 2015 when they presented a highly imaginative and visual version of The Winter’s Tale.

They have worked with RSC facilitators and performed at both Stratford upon Avon and Contact Theatre Manchester. Director Bev Clark was also mentored under the Open Stages scheme for a year. R.I.P. Mr Shakespeare is a light-hearted homage to The Bard using both his text and modern day language in a stylised ensemble piece of theatre.

The project started life in devised workshops and from those initial ideas Bev and designer Keith Hill put together a script. This new play is dedicated to the memory of Val Marshall who sadly died in 2015 but had been a leading actress and stage designer for the company.

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