Members of the Theatre Royal Bath’s Young People’s Theatre are set to stage the world premiere production of I AM ENGLAND, specially commissioned and written by David Lane, the new play will appear at the egg theatre from Thursday 22 November to Saturday 24 November.
The Young People’s Theatre (YPT) has worked closely with Bristol-based writer David Lane throughout the creation of I Am England. A rehearsed reading of the play presented in February at the Shakespeare Unplugged Festival 2012 by YPT members garnered much praise and was described by Venue Magazine as “powerful, chilling and politically engaged”. Over a period of twelve months, many of the cast members who became involved with I Am England when it was first commissioned have played an integral part in creating the script, the characters, the themes and the perspective from which the play has been developed ready for its premiere at the egg this November.
Bankrupt, isolated and in a state of collapse, a once-proud nation falls apart at the seams. Nostalgic for empire and thirsty for revenge, a small town politician presents a hero to the masses: a poster-boy for conscription. The future of the nation hangs in the balance, but at a time of intense change those in power must confront the truth of who they are – and who they might become.
Inspired by Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, I Am England offers a unique perspective on political power, authoritarianism and social justice from the generation whose stories are yet to be written.
The production will feature a twenty-two strong cast from the Theatre Royal’s Young People’s Theatre, aged between 15 and 19 years, hailing from Bath, Calne, Holt, Chippenham and Bristol.
Writer David Lane, said,
“Shakespeare’s Coriolanus is a play about struggling to stay true to ourselves when the duties foisted upon us by the rest of the world would have us do otherwise. A story about knowing one’s self but bending to the expectations of others, felt like a fantastic place to start not only a new play for teenagers, but a new play about politics; these two ideas have led to a story that asks what might happen in a future England if the masses – particularly the younger generation – are misrepresented and misled by those in power.”
“Members of the Young People’s Theatre at the egg have offered criticism, encouragement, intelligence and imagination and a vital creative spark throughout the script’s development. We’ve turned to them at each stage, and they’ve surprised and challenged us in equal measure. What you see carries a combination of our voices and theirs.”
Director of I Am England, Sita Calvert-Ennals, has also worked as a director with Merseyside Young People’s Theatre, Bristol Old Vic Theatre, and Trestle Theatre Company. She has directed a number of shows in the egg theatre including Holes performed by the YPT in 2008. In 2010 she was Associate Director for the Theatre Royal Bath’s epic community production of Ben Hur.
After performing in Bath, the YPT has been invited to perform I Am England in Warwick as part of The Playbox Theatre’s Epic Season on Saturday 8 December.
I AM ENGLAND receives its premiere at the egg theatre from Thursday 22 November to Saturday 24 November. Tickets are available from the Theatre Royal Bath Box Office on 01225 448844 or egg reception on 01225 823 409 or visit www.theatreroyal.org.uk