THE Lyric Theatre hosted a motivational Skills Exchanges Event in partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company on 2nd and 3rd July at the new theatre. The Lyric is a regional partner in the RSC’s Open Stages project, which engages with amateur theatre companies. Almost 300 amateur companies, groups, and societies from all over the UK and Ireland are taking part in the Open Stages project; each producing their own Shakespeare, or Shakespeare themed, production.
The Open Stages Skills Exchanges aim to share some of the skills and ideas of professional theatre with amateur actors, technicians, stage managers and directors, as well as allowing professional theatre practitioners to find out more about the work of those making theatre in the amateur sector.
Lyric Theatre Artistic Director Richard Croxford said, “We are delighted to be a partner in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Open Stages Project. The Skills Exchange event is the beginning of a dynamic collaboration and the Lyric is working closely with the RSC to deliver professional and relevant insight, support and skills to the groups who have got involved.”
The event saw professional practitioners from the RSC, co-ordinated by Open Stages producer Ian Wainwright, and the Lyric Theatre, working together with seven different amateur societies and groups from across Northern Ireland, Galway, Dublin and the Isle of Man.
Ian Wainwright, Producer for RSC Open Stages, said, “We are really surprised and delighted by the extent of applications from all corners of the UK from village halls to ruined castles, from community centres to disused swimming pools. The innovation, commitment and ambition of the entries so far is incredible. Some of the amateur companies involved have a great tradition of performing Shakespeare dating back before the founding of the RSC itself. Others are using the project as an opportunity to try performing Shakespeare for the first time.”
The full day workshop in performance skills included acting, movement, voice and text; the full day workshop in non-performer’s skills included directing, design, stage management and lighting. Amateur actors worked with the RSC’s team of voice, text and movement specialists and amateur directors worked with RSC ensemble actors. Amateur designers, stage managers and technicians picked the brains of professional practitioners from the RSC and the Lyric while other amateur performers were locked in combat led by professional Fight Directors.