Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Letter from London

There's nothing quite like assembling a new cast for a Grassroots production, especially when you know it's going to be comprised of actors entirely new to the Grassroots way of working! It is exciting in the way you might feel going on an adventure; you're not sure what you will get once you've launched into uncharted seas but you know it is going to be a lot of fun!

Natalie Harper (Leonata) and Daisy Ward (Hero/ Seacole)
Grassroots Shakespeare London is currently in rehearsals for a new production of 'Much Ado About Nothing'. Following three nights at the Scoop at More London and two performances on the Dell stage at the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon in June, it was decided to give the show a longer airing. With a two week slot already booked in August for Victoria Embankment Gardens and such a buzz building around the Company, the team voted to bring 'Ado' back, but with only one member available for the second run (me!), the show had to be entirely re-cast.

And what a fantastic cast we have ended up with! I am absolutely delighted!

Everybody is just wonderful, full of enthusiasm and brimming with masses of talent and creativity. It is so exciting to make my way to rehearsals of an evening and I certainly count the hours down until I can head off to our venue to get started!

It is particularly exciting, having been in both productions, to see the brilliant new ideas people are coming up with, their solutions to blocking, their fresh readings of lines and how they are bringing their characters to life in an entirely original way. It says so much about their intelligence and huge capacities as actors.

Sophie Littler (Don John/ Sexton) & Hamza Mohsin (Borachio/ Antonio)
As an Elizabethan original practices company, we work without a director as was the tradition of the time. This is something that modern actors can find difficult to adapt to, having spent their whole lives being directed around the stage to meet somebody else's vision of a play. At Grassroots, we love to let our actors' imaginations thrive and we create a supportive environment where we help each other to direct and devise scenes. It has been fantastic to see how this cast has just taken to this style, having never worked with it before, and are so positive, encouraging and supportive. It is honestly heart-warming. As one cast member said last night, "We're just like a family", and I couldn't agree more! I feel very lucky to not only be able to get to perform with this great group but get to know everybody too. It's like being ridiculously lucky every single day.

We open on Monday 30th July at Victoria Embankment Gardens. The show starts at 7pm and we would love to see you there! I'll keep you updated with Letters from London as we go along. No plot spoilers, I promise!

Love from London,


Keep Grassroots Growing!

From all of us at the Grassroots Shakespeare Company, THANK YOU for your support during this summer tour!  We couldn't have done it without you, our friends and fans.

Our not-so-secret goal as a company is to double the size of our audience every year.  In '09, about 600 people saw Grassroots perform.  In '10, our audience swelled to roughly 1,200.  Last year about 2,500 people saw our various productions.  So far this year... well, we're just over halfway to our goal of 5,000 audience members.

We need your help!  We have some big plans in the works to try and reach our goal, but all our hard work only pays off when you tell your friends about Grassroots.  Spread the word, invite people to our shows, and together we can create a genuinely popular kind of theatre!  Theatre that everyone enjoys.

Thanks again, and stay tuned for big things to come!