The Winter’s Tale – a rehearsed reading

by William Shakespeare

Directed by John Marwick

A rehearsed reading on Zoom in the time of Covid19 – April 2020


Polixenes, King of Bohemia Matthew Ruglys
Leontes, King of Sicilia Allan Burne
Hermione, wife to Leontes Lian Butcher
Mamillius, son to Leontes Rebecca Lester
Camillo, Leontes’ adviser Hayden Rogers
Emilia, companion to Hermione Susannah Donovan
Lady in waiting on Hermione Kristi Kleijn
Officer Anne Manchester
Antigonus, Leontes’ adviser John Smythe
Paulina, companion to Hermione Hilary Norris
Gaoler Chris O’Grady
Servant, in Leontes court Kristi Kleijn
Cleomenes, Leontes’ adviser Sandra Gillespie
Dion, Leontes’ adviser Nick Edwards
Mariner Nick Edwards
Old Shepherd Chris O’Grady
Young Shepherd Theo Nettleton
Time Rebecca Lester
Autolycus, a traveling rogue Thomas Barker
Florizel, son to Polixenes Hamish Boyle
Perdita, Leontes’ lost daughter, adopted by old shepherd Aimée Sullivan
Mopsa, a countrywoman Kristi Kleijn
Dorcas a countrywoman Anne Manchester
Servant Rebecca Lester

BCTT rehearse virtually for upcoming performance

From the Eastbourne Herald, May 2020

The show must go on, that’s the word from Butterfly Creek Theatre Troupe’s John Marwick.

The new ways in which we must now all go about our daily business was further exemplified for the BCTT recently, when during lockdown they were forced to hold a ‘virtual’ rehearsal of their proposed summer Shakespeare production of ‘A Winter’s Tale; via the most popular medium on the planet currently, Zoom.

Having to adapt to a new way of doing things was a bit of a challenge for the group, but most fared very well and all enjoyed the experience.

John put out a call to present the virtual rehearsed reading of the play on the first evening of Level 3.

“As is usually the case with our Shakespeare productions,” he says, “I attracted a great cast from the Bays and beyond. The reading was presented on 28th April through Zoom and was seen by some 40 people from all over the country and further afield.

28th April through Zoom and was seen by some 40 people from all over the country and further afield.

John says he finds it ironic that A Winter’s Tale, in 1611, was Shakespeare’s first new play produced when the London theatres had reopened after being shut for three years because of the plague.

After our own pandemic has settled down, John is planning to direct it as the next Shakespeare play the Troupe produces, scheduled for their 2021 Bard in the Yard production at the end of February.

John says the cast were superb. “It was really enjoyable,” he said, “and the time and effort put into developing the characters made the performance so authentic.”

Anne Manchester, who had two relatively small parts, says that being part of the Zoom production was a great experience.

“In the middle of lockdown,’ she says, “it was a wonderful distraction and made us all feel we could still do something creative and worthwhile together. We had four rehearsals before the performance, with some time spent on the technical aspects; how to share the script on screen, while still seeing the other actors. How to get the lighting and sound right and minimise the distractions in the room behind us.”

Although the cast did not need to learn lines, John had high expectations of those playing the Bohemian country characters and even had them taking a few lessons from voice coach, Hilary Norris, to get their accents consistent.

BCTT’s Lian Butcher says that John Marwick shone in his directing abilities, as there was more focus on facial expressions and small gestures due to the nature of doing this production live and online.

“I personally have missed being able to rehearse and act due to lockdown,” says Lian, “and so it was great to be part of a production and have something tun to focus on. The BCTT are keen to see how we can take what we’ve learnt to do and do a few more online script readings during the year, so community members can have a go at trying out their acting skills from the comfort of their own homes.”

Anne Manchester says the troupe were all delighted at how much the audience seemed to enjoy the production.

“Even though we were performing from our own, separate little bubbles,” she says, “we really managed to interact with each other and create a bit of theatre magic.”

“We all felt a bit sad when it was over,” she adds, “as one does with any theatre production. Not being able to meet for an after-show cast and crew party was something we missed.”

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