All the world’s a stage at Strutts

NBENBE110914c1, Shakespeare Festival- appeal for actors at Struuts Centre, Belper. Joan Hardy and Jeff Moule
NBENBE110914c1, Shakespeare Festival- appeal for actors at Struuts Centre, Belper. Joan Hardy and Jeff Moule

a FESTIVAL celebrating the works of William Shakespeare is calling upon local people to perform classic scenes and learn more about the Bard.

Retired teachers Jeff Moule and Joan Hardy are organising the festival at Strutts on December 9 and 10 and, from next week, will hold weekly meetings for people to find out more.

The pair, who taught drama at Belper School, say the invitation is open to everyone – regardless of experience – and the aim is to have fun.

Joan said: “It might be a new experience for some people. For others it might be a chance to extend the work they’ve already done.

“We want to make Shakespeare accessible – but we don’t want to be patronising. Some people were taught it at school and just left it, but we feel people would enjoy engaging with the text this way.”

Although the festival is very much in the planning stage at the moment, Joan says she and Jeff have already had promises from local theatre groups which want to enact scenes.

They hope that everyone from experts to amateurs and local theatre groups to schools will take part in the performances of scenes from plays like Hamlet, Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet. There may also be Elizabethan costume displays, quizzes and musical shows, depending on what ideas are brought to the table.

“There are so many accessible sections of the plays that even after all these hundreds of years are still relevant,” added Joan. “Shakespeare was a great understander of the human mind and that doesn’t change.

“You realise the situations are familiar. He deals with dissatisfaction, ambition and love and power–- they are just the same now. “The language can feel a bit intimidating but it’s surprising how quickly you get to grips with it.

“It starts to become familiar after a few readings and the rhythms are very attractive.

“Shakespeare’s writing is poetry that is close to the spoken voice – you can relate to it.”

Jeff is a big fan of King Lear and Joan is currently interested in Much Ado About Nothing, having seen a recent production at the Globe Theatre in London.

The workshops are for planned for Tuesday evenings, from 7pm to 9.30pm, at Strutts, Derby Road.