Shakespeare takes over the Epstein Theatre with two classic plays
Two of Shakespeare’s classic plays come to The Epstein Theatre from Wednesday 11 – Saturday 21 April.
The plays form part of an ambitious, fully immersive, alternating repertoire, which sees the cast perform the two plays back to back in the same day and have been produced by Daniel Taylor Productions.
Recently announced James Ledsham and Faye Griffiths, who will be playing the star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet, will be joined by a plethora of Liverpool’s finest acting talent.
Several cast members are set to reprise their roles, and fresh faces join the team, as Daniel Taylor’s critically acclaimed, immersive production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream returns by popular demand, alongside a new adaptation of Romeo & Juliet, set in 1880s strife torn Protestant and Catholic Liverpool.
Produced and directed by Blood Brothers and West End star Daniel Taylor, this ten-day run of Shakespeare’s most-loved plays offers a fresh and immersive experience, with settings chosen to resonate with modern audiences and appeal in particular to newcomers to Shakespeare’s work.
James Templeton (Blood Brothers – West End and UK tour, Taboo – UK tour, Jesus Christ Superstar – UK tour), who received critical acclaim for his portrayal of ‘Puck’ in the 2017 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, reprises this role, while taking on the parts of ‘Samson’ and ‘Balthazar’ in Romeo & Juliet. Award-winning actor and storyteller Fra Gunn (Kabosh, Replay, Centre Stage, film and TV credits with Sterling, BBC, Factotum, MAC Films and Sky Movies), joins the cast as ‘Mr Montague’ in Romeo & Juliet and reprises the role of ‘Snug’ in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Sharon Byatt (Blood Brothers, My Kingdom, Bread) assumes the role of ‘Mrs Capulet’ in Romeo & Juliet and reprises her role as ‘Titania’ in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, while Chloé Taylor (Wicked, The Sound of Music) returns as ‘Helena’ in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and will play ‘Juliet’s Nurse’ in Romeo & Juliet.
Reprising his role as ‘Oberon’ in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, John Schumacher (Northwest Comedian of the Year 2012, Quadrophenia – UK tour, E4’s Party House, The Comedy of Errors – Royal Shakespeare Company) is cast to play ‘Mr Capulet’ in Romeo & Juliet. Lucy Litchfield (Of Mice and Men – tour, The Cherry Orchard – London Theatre, Peter Pan – National tour, Sense and Sensibility – National tour) joins the cast as ‘Mrs Montague’ in Romeo & Juliet and ‘Hermia’ in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Actor, writer and comedian Lenny Wood (Under the Mud, The Tree of Death and Don’t Worry About Me) assumes the roles of ‘Mercutio’ in Romeo & Juliet and ‘Snout – The Wall’ in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Reprising his role as ‘Peter Quince’ in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Nick Wymer (The Provoked Wife, Round the Horne, CITV’s My Phone Genie, Father Ted) takes on the role of ‘Friar Lawrence’ in Romeo & Juliet. Tim Lucas (Terriers, Cinderella – Shone Productions, The Decision) has been cast as ‘Benvolio’ and ‘The Watchman’ in Romeo & Juliet and as ‘Flute’ and ‘Thisbe’ in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, while actor and director Sam Donovan (Room On The Broom – West End, UK, US and International Tours, Salome – UK Tour, Erics – Liverpool Everyman, Walking on Water – Theatre Centre) joins the cast of Romeo & Juliet as ‘The Apothecary’ and that of A Midsummer Night’s Dream as ‘Lysander’. West Midlands based actor, Neville Cann (Father Brown – BBC, Hollyoaks – Lime Pictures, Doctors – BBC) takes on the role of ‘Chief of Police’ in Romeo & Juliet and as ‘Starveling’ and ‘Moonshine’ in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Relocating Shakespeare’s classic from fair Verona to 1880s Liverpool, Trisha Duffy’s adaptation of Romeo & Juliet explores the destructive impact of religious sectarianism close to home. In this adaptation, two star-crossed lovers are caught between their feuding noble families, the Catholic Montagues and Protestant Capulets, resulting in tragic consequences. Passionate young love and the destructive impact of divided communities are prominent themes in this fresh adaptation of what is widely regarded as the greatest love story of all time.
The Epstein’s first ever production of a Shakespeare play, which also saw Daniel in his first directorial role, Daniel Taylor Productions’ 2017 A Midsummer Night’s Dream, received rave reviews and engaged audiences of all ages. Adapted by Helen Jeffrey, this production is high energy and laugh-out-loud, Shakespeare’s effervescent comedy with all the vitality of its earliest performances.
Producer Daniel Taylor said: “We’re thrilled to welcome back a whole host of brilliant local actors who helped make such a success of the Epstein Theatre’s first ever Shakespeare production last year, and we are also delighted to bring some incredibly talented and driven new additions to a magical team.”