As You Like it
Drama in the Dale staged a site-specific outdoor performance of Shakespeare’s comedy, As You Like It, in the unique setting of St Thomas Church in Stanhope, Weardale. The performance was part of the RSC Open Stages project which encourages amateur and community theatre companies, like Drama in the Dale, to raise the quality of their work by approaching Shakespeare in new and interesting ways. The production enabled the local community to work with professional artists and arts organisations, building skills and increasing capacity in areas where there was less confidence, eg., costume design and movement. For the first time Drama in the Dale offered the opportunity for an apprentice director to be mentored by a professional director (Tom Hogan) alongside rehearsals. As You Like It helped develop and deepen links with local business, artists and other community organisations in Weardale, building upon previous successful collaborative relationships.
Much of the time rehearsals were in and around the Dales Centre in Stanhope and St Thomas’ Church. Music was specially written for the production and performed by a small group of instrumentalists.
Liz Gill said ‘We have a fantastic team of costume makers who have created wonderful 1920s outfits complete with hats and coats. One of our actors is a trained dancer and has choreographed a section for the last scene, this has proved great fun amongst the cast and has certainly brought out those reluctant dancers amongst them’.