Saturday, January 22, 2022

Lismore Theatre Company – Local collaboration keeping theatre alive

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by Jenny Dowell, Publicity Officer, Dunoon and District Gazette

Photo: (L-R) Sarah-Jane Loxton, Gray Wilson, Elyse Knowles and Kylie Fuad at the Star Court Theatre.

How do actors keep busy while stage lights are dimmed and curtains closed? Director of Educating Rita, David Addenbrooke and Lismore Theatre Company’s artistic director Kylie Fuad came up with the idea of engaging their actors in a filmed, rehearsed, abridged reading of Macbeth.

Elyse Knowles (Rita) will play Lady Macbeth and Gray Wilson (Frank) will take on the role of Macbeth. They will be supported by a small group of LTC actors in this 45-minute version of Shakespeare’s play.

“The stage remains set for Educating Rita while these marvellous actors bide their time,” said director David Addenbrooke, “but there’s only so much rehearsing they can do so the idea is to engage them in a new project to keep fresh and involved.”

The innovative project is a collaboration with Star Court Theatre. COVID-19 has hit Star Court Theatre hard as they have had to close for several months. The small business, run by Sarah-Jane Loxton and Sharon Rigby, is trying to stay afloat in these turbulent times. Sarah-Jane, a local performer herself, is keen to bring live performance back to Star Court once it is safe to do so. In the meantime, Star Court Theatre has opened its space to Lismore Theatre Company for this project.

“I’ve loved being part of various performances with Lismore Theatre Company, including last year’s production of The Vagina Monologues, so it’s wonderful to work with the company again – this time in our theatre space,” Sarah-Jane said.

LTC has brought several plays to the larger Star Court Theatre stage in the past and in this time of the one-person-per-4sqm rule, the cast can safely come together to keep creating while waiting to reopen Rochdale Theatre for Educating Rita once it is safe to do so.

Dunoon and District Gazette Aug-Sep 2020

“With social distancing an issue, our own Rochdale Theatre stage was too small for 12 actors. So we are delighted that Star Court Theatre agreed to let us use their stage,” Kylie Fuad said. “And we will film the performance to be available online.”

The rehearsed reading of this abridged version of Macbeth will be filmed on 22 August and released online shortly afterwards for public viewing. Audiences are encouraged to follow the Lismore Theatre Company Facebook page for updates.

This article was first published in the Dunoon and District Gazette, August-September 2020.

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