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Storm on the Lawn’s new staging of ROBIN HOOD sees Prior Park’s Ball Court transformed into the Sheriff of Nottingham’s castle as 78 young people presentone of Bath’s biggest outdoor summer shows

Robin Hood - Storm on the Lawn 2014 - Photo credit Nick Spratling - (ref17)

Following a wide range of successful, classic and contemporary productions over the past sixteen years, this August Storm on the Lawn prepares to present Robin Hood in a brand new staging adapted by Paul Dodgson.  Performances will take place from Wednesday 27th August to Sunday 31st August in the eighteenth century Ball Court,in the grounds of Prior Park College.

Robin Hood is a classic story that speaks to our time: an outlaw with a mission to restore justice and equality. Deep in the Forest of Sherwood, a band of lionhearted bandits are gathering, ready to do battle to right the wrongs of society. For all those in thrall to the legend of Atlantis, the cut and thrust of The Musketeers, and The Hunger Games fever, Storm on the Lawn 2014 promises a thrilling adventure with a twenty-first century edge.

As the eighteenth century Ball Court at Prior Park College is transformed into the Sheriff of Nottingham’s castle, all of the young people participating – led by the egg’s professional team – spend three weeks working on Robin Hood with the first public performance staged on 27th August. This year,during the run of seven performances, two late evening shows will be staged at 9pm on Friday and Saturday evening, as well as 8pm performances on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, and 5pm performances on Friday and Saturday.

As well as many participants from Bath, the young company taking part in Storm on the Lawn 2014 also hail from Bradford on Avon, Westbury, Radstock, Bristol, Gloucester, Wiltshire and London. This year’s annual Theatre Royal Bath Storm on the Lawn summer school started on 11th August when seventy-eight young people, aged from twelve to eighteen years, met for the first day of rehearsals. They have been working with director Heidi Vaughan and the egg theatre’s professional team since to prepare for the spectacular open-air performance at the end of August. 

Talking about this year’s Storm on the Lawn production, director Heidi Vaughan, said,

Robin Hood is a tale which has been reincarnated for each generation, despite hugely different styles and productions this legendary figure has remained as part of our cultural heritage since the 13th Century. In making this piece I felt driven to dig down to the roots of the story and make it a piece for now.”

“Storm on the Lawn is now in its 17th year, and it is my 3rd. I adore this yearly event which seems to have a heartbeat all of its own. It has a spirit and sense of story which connects thoroughly with the legend of Robin Hood that, despite all the odds that are put upon us, the rain, the sun, the lack of time; the bravery and energy of the young people never fails to amaze, inspire and make good. It has been reshaped and owned each year, each generation finding their voice and creativity. It in itself is its own legend and is held closely in the hearts of so many.”

The Theatre Royal’s annual three-week performance and production summer school has once again provided opportunities for young people to gain valuable experience backstage too. This August, fourteen budding technicians, aged from twelve to seventeen years, are also participating behind-the-scenes learning about wardrobe, lighting, sound and stage management.

Choreographer for Robin Hood is Dan Martin.  His role is supported in part by Theatre Royal Bath’s ENGAGE Emerging Artists, a scheme designed to help people who have accessed the egg’s services and progressed through its youth companies, showing particular commitment to developing their skills in the professional world. Whilst at secondary school, Dan joined the Young Company at the egg theatre, and took part in Storm on the Lawn himself as a teenager. He has since trained professionally and is currently studying at the London Contemporary Dance School.  

Heidi Vaughan makes a welcome return to Storm on the Lawn; which she has worked on twice before, most recently as director of Storm’s 2012 production of TheComedy of Errors.  With fifteen years of experience as a director, she regularly creates work all over the South West with and for young people, and has worked internationally with the British Council delivering workshops and community projects for children and young people.

Writer and composer Paul Dodgson has adapted this new production of Robin Hood and written the music. His previous work includes writing music and lyrics for the egg theatre’s staging of The French Detective and the Blue Dog, The Nutcracker and Heidi, as well as Alice Through the Looking Glass at Bristol’s Tobacco Factory, and Bluebeard at Soho Theatre, London. He has also written twelve plays for BBC Radio 4, directed and produced over four hundred programmes for BBC Radio, and worked in the writing team for EastEnders.  Set and costume design is by Carl Davies. Rob Hiley is Musical Director and Tom Jordan is Fight Director and Assistant Director. 

Storm on the Lawn 2014 presents ROBIN HOOD from Wednesday 27th August to Sunday 31st August at The Ball Court in the grounds of Prior Park College, Bath.  Tickets are available from the Theatre Royal Bath Box Office on 01225 448844, the egg on 01225 823 409 or online at www.theatreroyalorg.uk

Photo credit: Nick Spratling