Perse Sixth Form actors star in Shakespeare in Love

All the world was a stage for Perse Sixth Form actors as they put on passionate performances of Shakespeare in Love.

Based on the 1998 film starring Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow, the Lee Hall play depicts a fictional love affair between William Shakespeare and Viola de Lesseps while he is in the process of writing Romeo and Juliet.

Directed by Perse Theatre Practitioner in Residence David Barrett, the production attracted full houses to the Peter Hall Performing Arts Centre on both nights.

In selecting Shakespeare in Love for the Sixth Form show, Mr Barrett said: “We always want to do something that’s different and fun, but that’s also quite useful as a learning opportunity.

“There’s a lot of backwards and forwards in finding the right play and making sure it’s something that people want to come and see, so Shakespeare in Love fulfilled all these criteria.

“Anyone who has seen the film would have instantly recognised the play, but what was appealing is that the stage version had more of the actual Romeo and Juliet script in it, which was great for the students.”

The 16th Century setting to the production was enhanced by a group of Perse musicians playing traditional tunes of the time while dressed in full Shakespearean costume.

Mr Barrett said: “I spoke to Ben Wingfield (Perse Director of Music) about it because the music is woven into the piece.

“We looked at having a backing track, but we both decided to have live music and that created a superb Medieval feel and really took you back to what it would have been like in those times.

“The response was really positive and the atmosphere was wonderful with full houses.

“For some of the cast, it will have been their last production at The Perse, so it was nice for them to go out on a high.”

Meanwhile, a Perse Giving Day collection held at both performances raised more than £190 for the school’s bursaries and community partnerships funds.

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