It's almost a week since the curtain came down on our production of Romeo and Juliet at Holy Trinity Church, so we thought we would share with you our final thoughts and some of the wonderful comments we have received from people.
We are absolutely thrilled to report that it has become our second most popular show in GSC's 12 year history! A record 4974 tickets were sold for the show, just 1226 behind 2015's King Lear, our all-time most popular show.
“We came this week and loved it…we all decided on way home that it was a better production than we saw at The Globe. It was mesmerising.”
We are particularly pleased to report that over 1300 children saw the show, 942 of which came from 18 different schools. It was wonderful to see them engaging with live Shakespeare, many for the first time.
“Daughter’s first Shakespeare play and she enjoyed it. If you can keep a 7 year old entranced the whole play, you must be doing something good.”
Everyone knows that seeing Shakespeare live is the best and most immediate way to access these amazing plays, and truly begin to understand and appreciate the meaning behind the words. A regular comment we had was how surprisingly funny the first half of Romeo and Juliet is - but like with all great stories you need that lightness and affection for the characters so that we can align ourselves with them. Without enjoying Romeo and Juliet's excitement, fun and passion of their first meetings we can't follow them fully on their tragic story when things begin to go wrong. We can't begin to appreciate why the Friar acts in the way he does if we have not experienced the father/son relationship in the first half....and you can't feel/see/get that from just reading the play.
“U know you’ve nailed it when a 21st century audience connects with 16th century characters!”
Returning to a play that we last staged 8 years ago has been truly gratifying and working with the wonderfully talented team of actors, directors and designers has been such a privilege. Romeo and Juliet enabled us to create 28 jobs for artistic professionals, 6 community chorus roles, a professional work placement and 96 volunteer opportunities. We were also able to give 10 complimentary tickets to clients at the mental health charity Oakleaf, whilst 3 blind and visually impaired patrons used our award-wining Audio Description service.
Of course we couldn't achieve our creative ambitions, or help grow the community in which we all live and work, without the support of our loyal audiences. It is our audiences who continue to inspire us to keep creating the work we do; retelling these fabulous, instructive stories, in fresh and exciting ways.
“One of Guildford’s best artistic and enriching assets. An amazing company that brings the humanity and essence of every Shakespeare play they interpret into the audience in a fresh, original, accessible and honest way. Your love of Shakespeare is infectious. Thank you.”
As ever we are indebted to our friends at Holy Trinity Church who enabled us to set up 'home' in their magnificent venue for 4 weeks to bring this play to life. As a site-responsive theatre company, the venues we use are as much part of the performance as the cast, costumes, music and lights. On this occasion the opportunity to embrace the architecture of Surrey's largest Georgian church helped bring the Capulet and Montague worlds to life like never before. The final moments in the tomb, under the enormous golden apse, you were brought face to face with the enormity of the sacrifice our star-cross'd lovers make, as well as the futility of a feud which neither family seem to remember the origins of...
"See what a scourge is laid upon your hates
That heaven finds means to kill you joys with love
...all are punished" (Prince, Act V)
Next winter will be GSC's 40th show, but before then we have a whole year of exciting new adventures to explore, and we hope you'll be with us every step of the way. Thank you for making the start of 2018 such a good one!