Open air Shakespeare coming to Caversham CourtBy Linda Fort
April 20, 2010
The players of Progress Theatre did not know where “the dickens” they were going to perform their latest production.
Their usual midsummer venue of the Abbey Ruins was out because it is closed for safety reasons, as reported last month in getreading.
But “as good luck would have it” Caversham Court gardens are now restored and will provide a beautiful backdrop to the performance of The Merry Wives of Windsor.
The “short and the long of it” is the play will be performed from Monday, July 26, to Saturday, July 31, in the beautiful riverside gardens.
Shakespeare buffs will already have spotted three quotations from the play which also boasts the regularly misquoted phrase “the world’s mine oyster.”
The action of the play takes place in Windsor around the Garter Inn, in the town and in Windsor Forest. The best-known character is Sir John Falstaff.
Progress Theatre is more than 50 years old – with Kenneth Branagh and Marianne Faithfull among its former players.
This is the 14th summer open-air Shakespeare staged by Progress Theatre in partnership with Reading Borough Council.
Preparations for this summer’s event are under way with auditions starting this week.
The group is planning a simpler production than in previous years.
Audience members can bring their own chairs, blankets or ground sheets as no seating will be provided, but there will be a stage with simple lighting and a minima-list approach to scenery and props.
The company will shortly hold auditions for 13 male, four female and five young actors.
Director Anne Latto said: “We are looking for talented, enthusiastic performers who are very much team players.
“Clearly, experience is an asset, but nobody with a passion for Shakespeare and real commitment to this project should feel that they do not stand a chance.
“This means that everyone must work as a team for this very special event, an event right at the heart of the cultural life of Reading.”
Progress Theatre is holding two auditions, on Sunday at 2pm at Progress Theatre in The Mount, off Christchurch Road, in the university area, and on Wednesday at 7.30pm at Park United Reformed Church, Palmer Park Avenue, East Reading.
A callback session will take place on Sunday, April 25, at 2pm at Progress Theatre.
Auditions are only open to over-16-year-olds. Visit www.progresstheatre.co.uk to find out more.