RIFT continue their excellent work embedding Shakespeare into the fabric of modern London with Shakespeare in Shoreditch, a festival that will run from the 450th anniversary of his birth to the 400th anniversary of his death, in which they have commissioned ten new plays inspired by both Shakespeare and Shoreditch.
The evening included speeches, a video presentation on the project, and several readings from the pieces. I was invited to read an extract from A Pit of Clay by Brad Birch, a piece that transported the Gravedigger from Hamlet to the streets of Shoreditch in his new vocation as a bin-man, exploring concepts of ownership and history in the region.
It was wonderful to perform a rehearsed reading in which the actors helped one another to explore and deliver the text, and it was also the first time I had sung solo in front of a crowd of people- no less daunting as I had composed the shanty-esque tune for the Gravedigger’s song myself after research proved fruitless.
The evening itself was a resounding success, with colourful Shakespeare themed cupcakes and a wonderful glossy book of the ten commissioned pieces, with theatre and film enthusiasts and luminaries gathered to discuss the possibilities for staging the works later in the year.