First look rehearsal images have been revealed from the upcoming outdoor production of As You Like It at Newbury’s The Watermill Theatre.
Directed by the venue’s Artistic Director Paul Hart and adapted by Yolanda Mercy, the brand-new sustainability focussed production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It will feature a cast of ten actor musicians and an atmospheric modern folk soundscape, inspired by the music of Mumford & Sons, Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver and Taylor Swift.
The show will open as part of the summer 2021 outdoor season on the main lawn between Thursday, 24 June and Saturday, 24 July.
Forced to leave their homes behind, Rosalind and Orlando find sanctuary in the forest of Arden. Amongst whispering trees, their worlds collide, and they become entangled in a game of love, lust and mistaken identity.
What follows is a riotous adventure with a feisty heroine in disguise, feuding brothers, love poetry and laughs aplenty! Will love conquer all, or is it merely a madness?
Using responsibly sourced, repurposed, or recyclable materials to create the set, props and costumes, this production of Shakespeare’s famous pastoral comedy celebrates the unique environment of The Watermill gardens. With a focus on eco-friendly practices both on and off stage, this season marks a new direction for the venue in terms of sustainability and access for future generations.
Set and costume designer Katie Lias said: “Creating eco-friendly, sustainable theatre is something I aim for in every production I work on, but none more so than The Watermill’s production of As You Like It. With the play’s inherent themes of nature and being set in the beautiful grounds, there is a constant reminder of the very landscape we are trying to protect for future generations.
“For example, I’ve looked at what we used on previous Watermill productions and incorporated elements of these costumes, props and set pieces to be recycled in our new show. The floor of the stage even comes from another theatre – in its original form it wasn’t what I felt looked right for our aesthetic, so we turned it over and routed ‘wooden planks’ in it to create the desired finish.
“The attempt to create something with as little negative impact as possible is made achievable thanks to a production team and company who place environmentalism at its very core, recognising that, whilst it is often quicker and easier to purchase something new, the future cannot sustain this level of waste.”
Emma Barclay plays ‘Touchstone’, Omar Baroud ‘Silvius / Duke Frederick’, Emma Manton ‘Jacques’, Chanelle Modi ‘Celia’, Katherine Jack ‘Rosalind’, Ami Okumura-Jones as ‘Phebe’, Yazdan Qafouri as ‘Oliver’, Ned Rudkins-Stow as ‘Orlando’, Jamie Satterthwaite as ‘Duke Senior’, Tom Sowinski as ‘Adam’.
As You Like It is directed by Paul Hart, with dramaturgy and adaptation by Yolanda Mercy, set and costume Design by Katie Lias, movement direction by Anjali Mehra, lighting design by Tom White, and sound design by Tom Marshall.
Main picture: Ami Okumura-Jones and Omar Baroud. Photo by: Pamela Raith Photography.