Good luck to our friends in Prescot-based MATE Productions, who are off to perform their version of As You Like It at the RSC this weekend!
Following on from the last year’s touring outdoor production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, MATE, in partnership with the Shakespeare North Trust and the RSC Open Stages programme, are celebrating The Bard’s 400th anniversary year with another of his glorious romantic comedies.
Open Stages works with community performers up and down the country, to embrace and celebrate amateur theatre, re-forging its bond with the world of professional theatre.
As You Like it premiered in the woodland gardens of Prescot Parish Church at the beginning of June, and is touring similar outdoor spaces across Mersyside, as well as the stop at the RSC Dell venue in Stratford Upon Avon, for the rest of the month.
They say: “With live musicians and singers, stunning design and a talented local cast, this production promises an abundance of magic and fun for all the family.”
Community engagement has been a core part of this project for MATE, who have involved more than 100 local actors, musicians, singers, sewers, crafters and volunteers aged from 8 to 80 in As You Like It (the most senior actress being Vera Farrell, who turned 80 years old on Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary back in April). Forty GCSE students from the Prescot School have been working towards a national accredited arts awards with MATE’s designers, creating costumes and designs inspired by the show to be exhibited in Prescot at the end of July; and some 300 local primary school children have also been engaged in themed drama and creative writing workshops.
Don’t believe them? Take a look at this delightful short film they made with local residents, businesses, schools and young people celebrating Shakespeare by performing the “all the world’s a stage” speech:
On Merseyside, you can still catch the show at Woodlands Rest Home gardens in Netherley on Sunday July 17 at 3pm, or at Prescot Woodland Theatre on Saturday and Sunday July 30 and 31, with performances at 2pm and 6.30pm. Bring a picnic and a bottle of wine – camping chairs, picnic blankets and gazebos (in case of rain) are all provided.
Tickets are £8 for adults and £6 for children and can be purchased online from www.mateproductions.co.uk, or telephone 0151 426 4979 for more information or to make a reservation.