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The Watermill Theatre announces national tour of Macbeth and A Midsummer Night's Dream

Macbeth at The Watermill Theatre. Billy Postlethwaite. Photo credit: Pamela Raith.

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THIS Autumn, The Watermill Theatre is taking its highly acclaimed productions of Shakespeare’s Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream on the road for a six week tour that will begin at Northern Stage Newcastle on September 11 and culminate at The Theatre Royal Norwich on October 19, 2019.

Playing side-by-side, Artistic Director Paul Hart’s visceral actor-musician led productions are presented by the Newbury based theatre’s celebrated resident Shakespeare company, The Watermill Ensemble, whose previous successes have also included Romeo and Juliet and Twelfth Night.

Hart’s magical production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream employs the hedonistic soulful sounds of Nina Simone and Billie Holiday as an intoxicating backdrop to the story of four lovers who throw off the decorum of the royal courts for on one fateful magic-filled night in the enchanted Athenian woods.

Macbeth played at the Watermill Theatre in March this year and starred Billy Postlethwaite. A blood-soaked tale of the “butcher and his fiendlike queen”, this production is set against the electrifying soundtrack of Jonny Cash and The Rolling Stones performed live by an accomplished cast of actor musicians.

Watermill Theatre Artistic Director Paul Hart said: “The aim is to create new Shakespeare productions that excite and engage audiences of all ages and walks of life. To be taking this work from the Watermill to these major theatres across the country is incredibly exciting. It’s a great opportunity for us to share our unique style of work that combines Shakespeare’s astonishing language with physical theatre and live music to create bold new versions of these great plays.”

Casting for each production will be announced in due course.

Formed in 2017, The Watermill Ensemble is a company of multi-talented performers, including accomplished actor-musicians, with a 50:50 gender split. Its aim is to combine Shakespeare’s texts and live music to create new versions of the plays, which will tour. It also forms part of The Watermill’s education programme.

Following the Northern Stage, Newcastle dates (September 11-14), the productions will tour to Oxford Playhouse, The Lighthouse, Poole, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, New Theatre, Cardiff and Theatre Royal, Norwich (October 15-19).

Image: Macbeth at The Watermill Theatre. Billy Postlethwaite. Photo credit: Pamela Raith.