Harlow Theatre Company is celebrating summer Illyrian-style!

Lifestyle / Wed 19th Jul 2017 at 07:58am


Harlow Theatre Company is celebrating summer Illyrian-style!

HARLOW Theatre Company is heating up Victoria Hall Theatre next week with their summer production of Twelfth Night, by William Shakespeare. Arguably Shakespeare’s greatest comedy, their unusual approach has been causing a stir – set on the beach in Illyria in the 1930s, it is being performed by an all-female cast.

Twelfth Night features some of Shakespeare’s most iconic characters – the drunken Sir Toby Belch, the foppish Sir Andrew Aguecheek and the arrogant Malvolio to name a few – and is a rib-tickling story of mis-identity and star-crossed lovers. Viola and her twin brother, Sebastian, are shipwrecked and separated, both believing the other has perished in the sea. Viola disguises herself as a boy (Cesario) and, working for the Duke Orsino, falls in love with him. He on the other hand, loves the Countess Olivia who, in turn, falls for Cesario. Add in Sebastian who
Olivia mistakes as Cesario and behold the confusion and chaos that unfurls!

Harlow Theatre Company has a large number of female actors who expressed an interest in trying different roles and approaches. Women actors often find themselves playing a wife, a mother, a girlfriend, a secretary and other roles that are not always empowering or challenging. Producing an all-female production with some of the most iconic characters created by Shakespeare is a wonderful and exciting opportunity to be able to offer something very different, rewarding and meaty, both for the cast and the audience. Twelfth Night also has a second title, ‘What You Will’ which conveys an invitation for us to make what we will of the play. It suggests an ‘anything goes’ attitude where social boundaries are crossed and gender mis-identity creates a world of ambiguity and confusion, so an all-female cast fits this remit rather well!

Director Jane Miles says: “Our plan was not to try to impersonate men, but to have the opportunity to play characters not usually offered to women. We have looked beyond gender and have had great fun exploring the characters’ relationships, their power struggles, their needs, their sadness, their frustrations and their yearnings. With some parts, we made the choice to ignore the original gender and let the actor play the character how she felt best. Twelfth Night is about sexual reversals and how people can love their same gender, so having an all-female cast delivering this has been illuminating, liberating and great fun.’

Twelfth Night will be a hilarious and uplifting evening’s entertainment for all the family. The production opens at the Victoria Hall Theatre, Old Harlow on Wednesday 19th July, running until Saturday 22nd July. Tickets available on the door or through

https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/harlowtheatrecompany. £13/£10 concessions.

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