Following triumphant performances of Pericles at the National Theatre in summer 2018, the next Public Acts production of As You Like It starts rehearsals this week and will play from 24 – 27 August. Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch’s Artistic Director, Douglas Rintoul will direct this musical adaptation of the William Shakespeare classic.
Forced from their homes, Orlando, Duke Senior, his daughter Rosalind and niece Celia, escape to the Forest of Arden, a fantastical place where all are welcomed and embraced. Lost amidst the trees, they find community and acceptance under the stars.
This UK premiere sees more than one hundred 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. The Public Acts community partners are: Body & Soul, Bromley by Bow Centre, Coram, DABD, The Faith & Belief Forum, HASWA (Havering Asian Social Welfare Association), Open Age, Queen’s Community Group and Thames Reach.
The cast of professional actors include Beth Hinton-Lever (Hadestown, National Theatre), Linford Johnson (The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, Park Theatre), Ebony Jonelle (Top Girls, National Theatre), Rohan Reckord (The Rat Pack, The Savoy) and Vedi Roy (Laila The Musical tour, Rifco Theatre Company/Watford Palace).The production will also feature several cameo groups who represent the cultural breadth of the city.
As You Like It is the second Public Acts production, the National Theatre’s new initiative to create extraordinary acts of theatre and community. The production forms part of a two-year partnership with community organisations who deliver visionary work in their communities, together with theatre partner Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch.
This version of As You Like It, adapted by Laurie Woolery and Shaina Taub, featuring music and lyrics by Shaina Taub, will be directed by the Queen’s Theatre’s Artistic Director Douglas Rintoul, and will feature set and costume design by Hayley Grindle, musical director Yshani Perinpanayagam, choreographer and movement director Sundeep Saini, lighting designer Paul Anderson, sound designer Leigh Davies and assistant director Jules Tipton. The score is infectious, with sounds ranging from calypso to pop, Broadway musical to soul. Live captioning and live audio description will be available at all five performances.
Douglas Rintoul, Director of this production said, ‘Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is thrilled to be the first theatre partner working with the National Theatre on their excellent Public Acts programme. I can’t wait for our stage here in Outer East London to be the home for As You Like It. The project is transforming lives, communities and organisations (ours included) and we are immensely proud that Hornchurch will be at the heart of that this summer.’
Emily Lim, Director of Public Acts, said, ‘We have had a wonderful second year deepening our relationships with all our exceptional community partners and the brilliant Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch. We can’t wait to bring everyone together to get started on rehearsals for our summer production. We are particularly excited to be working with a brand new creative team on this joyful, ambitious adaptation and to be welcoming lots of new community members to the company’.
Public Acts is inspired by Public Works, the Public Theater’s ground-breaking programme in New York and by the visionary participatory work of other theatres and artists across the UK.
Supported by Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Fund, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Hertz, Mr & Mrs A Mosawi, Simon & Sue Ruddick and Garfield Weston Foundation.
The National Theatre’s Partner for Learning is Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
For more information about As You Like It click here.