Shakespeare returns to the stage, and he’s got his PGCE…

The Lawrence Batley Theatre. A striking, iconic 19th-century building at the bottom of the town centre.

From the outside, the casual observer could be forgiven for thinking that the theatre was having a well-earned day off. But inside, in the newly refurbished main auditorium, there’s a hive of activity.

So, what is it that brings people to the theatre on this rainy Sunday? That would be rehearsals for the Lawrence Batley Theatre‘s third community production; Macbeth. Well, kind of.

This adaptation of Macbeth sees a gargantuan power struggle erupt at the once-peaceful Dunsinane Hill Primary School. Mr Macbeth has lofty ambitions, prompted by the pupils in his class, to become Headteacher by the end of the academic year. And he’ll stop at nothing to get there.

Henry V was 2019’s amalgamation of Shakespeare, 90s music and neon.

Expect more staff room politics than savage battles; a bit more Ofsted, a bit less off-with-their-head.

Adapted by Olivia Race, Creative Associate at the Lawrence Batley Theatre, the production was open for anyone and everyone to join in with, with applications open a number of months ago and auditions earlier in the summer. Around 70 local residents of all experience levels and all ages will be treading the boards in Macbeth for three nights from October 7th.

September 2019 saw the first community production of Henry V bring a clash of the party planners with a large helping of 90s tunes and fluorescent clothing to the stage, with a cast of around 50 local residents. Another production was being planned for 2020 when the world was plunged into lockdown. Instead of shelving the production for another year, the creative team at the theatre made sure it could still go ahead with a mixture of online rehearsals, intricate and beautiful animation, and individual visits to the theatre to record lines. The end result? An animated adaptation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol that received an impressive ⭐⭐⭐⭐ review from The Stage.

Olivia Race, Creative Associate at the Lawrence Batley Theatre

Many of the cast have returned year after year to once again join in with the community productions due to it being an all-around joyful, friendly and positive experience.

Huddersfield Times will be bringing you updates in the lead-up to the show, but in the meantime, you can purchase tickets here; a ‘pay as you feel’ system is in place, so the ticket price is up to you!

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