Generously funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Shakespeare North Playhouse will celebrate the bard’s birthday with a jam-packed open day brimming with workshops and drop-in sessions for all ages to enjoy. From theatre masterclasses with renowned Shakespearean practitioner Ben Crystal, to poetry workshops, all the way to storytelling with giants- there’s something for everyone!

This year’s Open Day has been programmed in conjunction with the ‘Our Town’s Sound’ project. Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Our Town’s Sound is a yearlong heritage project focusing on how language has developed over time in the local areas of Prescot, Knowsley and Merseyside.  Inspired by the idea that Shakespeare is credited with creating / adding 750 different words and phrases to the English language, this project uncovers how language has changed in the area. This year’s open day will offer a wide selection of free and paid workshops and drop-in sessions across the venue all focused on the theme of language.

On the evening before Open Day associate artist of Shakespeare North, Ben Crystal, will expand upon his renowned TedX talk for Shakespeare’s Craft an Evening with Ben Crystal (Friday 26 April) Ben will explore what it was like being an actor 400 years ago, and why modern theatres like the Shakespeare North Playhouse are so exciting (and look so much bigger on the inside). Hear the accent of Shakespeare’s time – as well as the humour that comes with it, and discover – once and for all – exactly how Will Shakespeare became an overnight success.

On open day, Ben will be offering actors across the Liverpool City Region a physical and playful workshop of textual exploration. Ben is an actor, author, producer, and explorer of original practices in Shakespeare rehearsal and production. Ben has worked closely with Shakespeare North Playhouse and is a consultant creative producer for Shakespeare companies around the world.

Director Chris Tomlinson will be hosting, Speak the speech, I pray you… workshops for 14–18-year-olds exploring some of Shakespeare’s most famous characters and scenes. With an open and playful approach, participants will get the opportunity to work on scenes using material from Shakespearian favourites such as, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing and Romeo & Juliet.

Mandy Redvers Rowe will host Writing with Shakespeare’s Words for 11–14-year-olds where participants will use some of the many words that Shakespeare invented to create new pieces of writing. Groups will work together to make a variety of poems, haikus and word pictures in a fun and engaging session. Mandy has written for television, radio, and stage. Her TV drama, Second Sight, for Jimmy McGovern’s Moving On 11 was The Times Critics Choice.

For younger visitors aged 4-8 Story Telling with OG the Giant will be running throughout the day on Shakespeare North’s first-floor foyer. Come and join Og the Giant as he weaves his enchanting tales about the wonders of the forest, the bravery of the animals, and the magic of the stars. In addition to OG the first-floor foyer will also host Children’s Dama Sessions running throughout the day for ages 8-11.

The day will also see the launch of the ‘Our Town’s Sound’ project also funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. In partnership with Buzz Hub a Big Red Telephone Box installation will be situated in the café where visitors will be able to record messages about language unique to the local area. Also in the café the day will be a-buzz with free arts and crafts drop-in sessions for families to enjoy, in addition to games tables and Chatty Café. Chatty Café is a space for people to talk and natter and is a wonderful way of encouraging people of all ages to chat to one another.

In the evening, a performance of Becoming Othello will be performed by Debra Ann Byrd in the Cockpit Theatre. Debra presents a tour-de-force journey of living memoir in Becoming Othello. This autobiographical solo show chronicles the trials and triumphs of Byrd’s life: her joy-filled and tumultuous youth growing up in Harlem, her experiences in foster care, her growth as a pregnant teen and single parent, her fateful encounter with a troupe of Shakespearean actors, navigating race and the classics, and ultimately her gender-flipped journey to playing Othello.

Shakespeare North Playhouse’s Open Day will take place on Saturday 27 April, 10AM-6PM at Shakespeare North Playhouse, Prospero Place, Prescot, L34 3AB.

More information about Shakespeare North’s Playhouse’s Open Day including timings and tickets can be found on the Shakespeare North Playhouse website:

Categories: Accessible event | Arts | Community Event | Family | News | Theatre

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