This is part of an ongoing series of regional Shakespeare coverage. This is Hannah Brewer here this week with the latest in Shakespeare news from The Isle Of Wight.
Theatre is deeply rooted in the very foundation of communities and cultures throughout the world, manifesting in a diverse array of creative and expressive performances.
In comparison to the wider world, the small diamond shaped land mass at the bottom of the UK must seem unimportant and of no consequence, conjuring simple images of pastoral rolling fields and shorelines quilted in a patchwork of deck chairs and parasols. But this little Island is no exception and is certainly full of noises — theatrical ones at that.
The Isle of Wight boasts a thriving theatrical scene, hosting an ever growing community of theatre companies and societies. With a handful of festivals and an annual awards gala, the Island takes its theatre as seriously as the very streets of Drury Lane. The theatre is so deeply and historically rooted within the heart of the community that it makes up part of the Island’s very own identity.
Of course, no theatrical culture would be complete without the inclusion of Shakespeare. As the veil falls upon 2014, it is clear that this year in particular has been an important one in the marriage of Shakespeare and the little Isle.
From humble village halls to grassy pastures, magnificent churches to beautifully crafted theatres, Isle of Wight based theatre companies have always been producing Shakespeare’s works.
Notably, The Arreton Players have a strong if not expert grasp on the Bard’s plays, providing an integral role to the Isle of Wight’s theatrical economy. Often performing at beautiful locations and stately manors, the company is well known for producing visual spectacles show casing Shakespeare’s work with delicate elegance.
The Apollo Theatre, one whose name is known to all Isle of Wight residents, theatrical or not, opened its doors for the first time in 1972 and is responsible for a high turnover of luxurious Shakespearian theatre. Reminiscent of the handsome architecture of London’s playhouses, The Apollo allows spectators to view theatre in a classical and magnificent surrounding.
Alongside these firmly established companies, 2014 saw the birth of the island’s very own dedicated Isle of Wight Shakespeare Company. Showcasing three productions in their début year and a festival devoted to the Bard himself, the company has produced both contemporary and traditional adaptations in a variety of venues island-wide.
The Isle of Wight has also played host to many visiting theatre groups this year, for example: The Globe, The Reduced Shakespeare Company and OddBox theatre. Each receiving a warm welcome from receptive audiences, the visits have clarified that the Isle of Wight is a
worthwhile theatrical destination, especially where Shakespeare is concerned.
More information on The Apollo Theatre can be found here:
More information on The Globe can be found here:
More information on The Reduced Shakespeare Company can be found here:
More information on OddBox Theatre can be found here:
More information on The Isle of Wight Shakespeare Company can be found here: