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Researchers offer opportunity to re-enact history in unique Georgian playhouse

Georgian playhouseDr Katherine Astbury Associate Professor of French Studies in the University of Warwick’s School of Modern Languages and Cultures is calling for amateur actors to take part in a theatrical melodrama on stage in the country’s most complete Georgian playhouse.

This exciting opportunity for adults (over 16s) offers a free workshop running 10:00 – 17:00 on 17 June 2017 at the Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond, Yorkshire. The workshop will provide expert training in the acting styles and theatrical traditions of 19th-century melodrama.

The day includes a chance to audition for a part in a professionally directed play being performed at the Georgian theatre royal, as a part of Richmond’s annual Georgian festival. A range of parts are on offer, big and small, serious and comic, including a sentimental father, a cross-dressed daughter, and a drunken castle-keeper.

Dr Katherine Astbury said: “Over the last 4 years my research team and I have been working with theatre practitioners and musicians to develop our understanding of performance of French theatre during the Napoleonic period. A public performance of an entire play seemed the logical conclusion to the project.

“The Georgian Theatre Royal, Britain's oldest working theatre in its original form, is the perfect venue and we are delighted that they’ve let us run a community project to coincide with the town’s Georgian Festival. Melodrama was one of the most popular genres across Europe in the early 19th century and the performance of The Fortress on the Danube will give people the chance to act in a play dating from the theatre’s heyday.”

The free workshop will include a chance to audition for a role in a production of Guilbert de Pixerécourt’s The Fortress on the Danube (1805), to be performed across a week at the Theatre Royal Richmond during the Georgian Festival (20-25 August 2017), marking the first adaptation of an early French melodrama to appear in over a century.

Guided by 19th-century theatre specialists and a professional director, Sarah Wynne Kordas, attendees will be offered the chance to develop skills in melodramatic acting techniques including:

  • The externalisation of emotion
  • The ability to move to music
  • The delivery of a melodramatic script

This production forms part of a major 4-year interdisciplinary project aiming to transform our understanding of theatre during the Napoleonic era by giving us a clearer understanding of the complex interplay of art and politics in France at the beginning of the nineteenth century. In order to grasp the full complexities of the theatrical scene in the years 1799-1815, the team has worked together to link close textual readings to larger cultural, social and political issues. This has involved research into and analysis of a substantial body of plays from the University of Warwick’s Marandet collection which have never before been the object of systematic study.

To take part in this open audition and melodrama acting workshop on 17 June and for more details visit: http://warwick.ac.uk/fortress

 

Notes to editors:

The play

Which comes first: love or duty? When Lieutenant Olivier is left in charge of his garrison, he faces an agonising dilemma: help the unjustly imprisoned Evrard escape or save his commander’s life? Can Evrard’s cross-dressing daughter resolve the crisis? Or will the Emperor realise he’s been duped by his courtiers and permit a happy ending? Prepare for musical flourishes and a mix of comedy and high drama as we offer a community performance in translation from this hit melodrama of 1805 with the support of professional musicians. Come and see for yourselves why melodrama dominated the theatres of Europe at the beginning of the 19th century!

The Workshop

Guided by 19th-century theatre specialists and a professional director, attendees will be offered the chance to develop skills in melodramatic acting techniques including:

  • The externalisation of emotion
  • The ability to move to music
  • The delivery of a melodramatic script

By partaking in stimulating practical exercises, participants will acquire in-depth knowledge of the stylistically unique genre that dominated early nineteenth-century theatre.

The Audition

All attendees are invited to audition for a role in Pixerécourt’s Fortress, a melodrama exploring the conflict between love and duty. A range of parts are on offer, big and small, serious and comic, including a sentimental father, a cross-dressed daughter, and a drunken castle-keeper.


No previous acting experience is required. Auditionees must be available to rehearse and perform in Richmond between 20-25 August 2017. Parts are available for all ages.

Performance: Friday 25 August 2017, 19.30

 

Contact:

Alex Buxton
Media Relations Manager
Tel: 02476 150423
Mob: 07876 218166
a.buxton.1@warwick.ac.uk