Liverpool’s PurpleCoat are hitting the road next month, taking Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night on tour across the UK and Ireland. Supported by Stephen Fry, the RSC and National Theatre, and well into development of their first feature film, this will be the company’s first tour.
Twelfth Night is one of Shakespeare’s most bittersweet comedies, and this isn’t its first outing in Liverpool this year, as it was performed back in March for the re-opening of the Everyman. But PurpleCoat’s production sounds completely different, set within a 90’s Benidorm-esque seaside resort, and aiming to discover the play from a whole new direction as it tours cities including Dublin, Birmingham, Stratford and London.
“We’ve been really lucky”, says PurpleCoat’s artistic director Karl Falconer, “to have performed in some amazing spaces across the country, alongside a regular body of work at home in Liverpool. But this is the first time we’ve taken the same show on tour – we’re not really sure what to expect, except a lot of hard work.”
The whistle-stop tour, playing six cities to celebrate six years of the company, makes a stop off in Liverpool on Friday, September 5. “We couldn’t not come to Liverpool,” adds Karl. “It’s our home, and we’ve laid on something extra special for the show here. It’s also outdoors in one of Liverpool’s most picturesque parks – it’ll be magical. If it doesn’t rain!”
The venue in question is Calderstones Park, who have in recent years played host to touring productions from Shakespeare’s Globe. PurpleCoat themselves are no strangers to outdoor theatre, having just returned from their second invited visit to perform alongside the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-Upon-Avon.
Karl says: “This time we took our new Youth Theatre. The weather was gorgeous and, after a successful home run at the Black-E, it was a hugely proud moment to see these incredible young performers work with the RSC.”
The new Youth Theatre have also been selected for the 2015 NT Connections scheme with the National Theatre.”We cannot wait to get started on this,” says Karl. “We’ve already found some incredibly talented kids, some of whom are joining our main cast in Twelfth Night, and we’ll be auditioning again soon for this, as well as our Christmas production.”
Tickets for PurpleCoat’s Twelfth Night are available now at the Reader Organisation’s website or by phone on 0151 724 5000. Adults are £10 (concessions £8).
For more information on PurpleCoat and the Youth Theatre, visit purplecoatproductions.com.