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Locals land 'dream' roles with Royal Shakespeare Company

By Ivan Little

Published 02/07/2015

Royal Shakespeare Company logo
Royal Shakespeare Company logo

Six amateur actors from Belfast have landed dream roles to star with the Royal Shakespeare Company in a production of.... A Midsummer Night's Dream.

They've been cast alongside 18 of Britain's most respected professional actors in a new version of the Shakespeare classic which will be staged in Stratford-upon-Avon and at the Grand Opera House next year.

All six are members of the award-winning Belvoir Players and normally play to a few hundred people in their theatre in south Belfast.

But come next May they'll be appearing in front of thousands in the audiences at the Opera House and the RSC'S own theatre in England as they play the part of the Mechanicals in A Midsummer Night's Dream.

After preparing with their own creative team in Belfast, the six actors will link up with the RSC for more rehearsals.

The recruitment of amateur actors to work with the RSC has been designed to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death in 2016. Other amateur companies will appear in other UK touring performances of what is billed as A Play for the Nation.

The local actors who will be in the spotlight are Chris Curry, Chris Darcy, Maggie Gorman, Jessica McGreevy, Robert McGregor and Trevor Gill who will play the best known role of Bottom.

Trevor, who is also the Belvoir Players' director, said: "It's amazing to think that six of us Belfast amateurs are to take our place alongside the professional cast of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

"The Mechanicals are a central part of the action and provide much of the play's comedy. We will be working hard in rehearsals to make sure we do Northern Ireland proud and we hope that our home audience will turn out in force to support us at the Grand Opera House."

The RSC Deputy Artistic Director, Erica Whyman, said she was impressed by the Belfast actors who weren't intimidated by Shakespeare or by the RSC.

She added: "Belvoir Players are a terrific community company whose inclusive work ethic really impressed us.

"Trevor is going to be a very funny Bottom and their confident stage craft is matched by a wonderful dose of Belfast spirit."

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