Liverpool-based PurpleCoat have been a bit quiet of late – but roared back into life this week with two epic new productions, backed by Arts Council cash.
After seven years producing work with their adult and youth cast, staging productions in the city and on tour across the UK, they have been awarded a small amount of funding to allow them to continue. To celebrate, they return to Liverpool this Christmas with a double bill of Henry IV Part 1 and 2 at the ArtsClub on Seel Street, running on alternate nights until Saturday.
The plays tell an epic story of the dividing of Britain, and the precursor to the landmark victory of the Battle of Agincourt. The company describe them as “plays incredibly of our time, looking at issues of immigration, nationalism, independence, and, in PurpleCoat’s telling, the role of women”.
“In our production, we have altered two of the play’s most iconic characters, Falstaff and Prince Hal, into women,” says artistic director Karl Falconer. “We did the same thing with Hamlet, which really helped to redefine and make fresh such a well-known play. It’s another way in which we can make Shakespeare’s stories speak to everyone, today.”
The double bill is told across two nights. Karl says: “It is an experience not to be missed – this is Shakespeare’s Game of Thrones. The opportunity to return to a story for a second night and see its sequel: it’s the original HBO box set. It’s nothing like we’ve ever done before, it’s exciting.”
Visit PurpleCoat’s website for more information on the remaining performances, and take a look at the rather cool trailer, below: