Bancroft Players return with Shakespeare in Love - the group's 'largest production in over four years'

Rehearsals for Shakespeare In Love

Rehearsals for Shakespeare In Love - Credit: Supplied by Queen Mother Theatre

An adaptation of Oscar-winning movie Shakespeare in Love is coming to the stage in Hitchin this week.

Based on the screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard, and adapted for the stage by Lee Hall, Shakespeare in Love will be performed at The Queen Mother Theatre from Monday, May 16 to Saturday, May 21, at 7.45pm each night. 

Rehearsals for Shakespeare In Love

Rehearsals for Shakespeare In Love - Credit: Logan Bodman Photography

Directed by Nicki Pope, the Bancroft Players’ upcoming production will be the society’s biggest in four years.

In a classic imagined tale befitting the Bard, Shakespeare in Love brings together mistaken identities, ill-fated schemes, unrequited romance and, of course, a cornucopia of comedy. 

Penniless and indebted to two demanding producers, struggling young playwright William Shakespeare, played by Jordan Clarke, is tormented by writer’s block.

The deadline for his new play – a comedy called Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter – is fast approaching. He’s struggling to finish the first line of a sonnet and he’s in dire need of inspiration. 

Then he meets the beguiling Viola de Lesseps, played by Amy Woods, the beautiful daughter of a wealthy merchant. 

Rehearsals for Shakespeare In Love

Rehearsals for Shakespeare In Love - Credit: Supplied by Queen Mother Theatre

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Viola is prepared to do anything – including risking the frosty disapproval of Queen Elizabeth I (played by Claudia O’Connell) – to fulfil her illicit dream of performing on the London stage and pursuing a passionate love affair with the greatest playwright of the age.

Will it all work out in the end or are the two star-crossed lovers destined for tragedy?

“This is our largest production in over four years,” said director Nicki Pope. 

“It is so exciting to be bringing the character of Shakespeare to life through this fictional story. The play is hilarious and engaging and a true homage to his work.”

The Oscar-winning film of the same title, starring Judi Dench, Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow, went on to win seven Academy Awards, including best screenplay. 

It was adapted for stage by Lee Hall, with music by Paddy Cunneen, and opened for a triumphant West End run in 2014 to both critical and public acclaim.

Tickets for the production at the QMT in Woodside, Walsworth Road, Hitchin, start at £14.

To book tickets, visit www.qmt.org.uk

The stage version of Shakespeare In Love can be seen at The Queen Mother Theatre in Hitchin.

The stage version of Shakespeare In Love can be seen at The Queen Mother Theatre in Hitchin. - Credit: Supplied by Queen Mother Theatre