The Strolling Theatricals

The Strolling Theatricals

The Strolling Theatricals is a British theatre company, located primarily in York.

Company history

The Strolling Theatricals was founded in 2005 by brothers John and William Seaward. William, who was enjoying his gap-year in South America, suggested to his brother that they should take a sketch-show up to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. However, no sketches were ever written. Instead (along with friends Owen Sogelar, Daniel Quinn, and Adam Neil-Jones) they put together a production of Samuel Beckett's Waiting For Godot, and took it to Edinburgh, where it was named as an official sell out.

The following year William started a three year course at the University of York. He wanted to continue the success of The Strolling Theatricals and recruited some of his fellow students into his 2006 Edinburgh production, 'Bouncy Castle Hamlet', which also featured actors from York St John University and the National Youth Theatre. 'Bouncy Castle Hamlet' instantly became the centre of a media explosion, and was later hailed as a 'triumphant success' by The Guardian. In 2007 the company produced 'Bouncy Castle MacBeth', which was featured in The Times '100 Best Things to See at the Fringe', and later appeared on ITV's Britain's Got Talent. The Strolling Theatricals are scheduled to perform 'Bouncy Castle Dracula' at the 2008 Festival. In 2008 William Seaward and Becca Atkey officially became joint partners of the Strolling Theatricals.

Waiting For Godot

Produced in 2005, this was The Strolling Theatricals' first production. Rather than performing this play in its usual sombre way, the company emphasised its comedic potential. The show was on for over two weeks, and was named as an Official Sell Out Production for The Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2005. All members of the cast and crew for this show were under 20.

"Production Crew"
*Director - William Seaward
*Producer/Tech Director - Owen Sogelar
*Choreographer - Stevie Taylor

"Cast"
*Vladimir - Adam Niel-Jones
*Estragon - John Seaward
*Pozzo - William Seaward
*Lucky/Boy - Daniel Quinn

The Bouncy Castle Experiment

The concept for 'The Bouncy Castle Experiment' was devised by William Seaward. While staying with family in Argentina on his gap year he attended his cousin's birthday party, at which there was a bouncy castle. Still under the belief that 'The Strolling Theatricals' were to put on a sketch show at Edinburgh, William saw the bouncy castle and realised its comic potential. A year later he bought a bouncy castle, lavishly decorated it with skulls and turrets, and 'The Bouncy Castle Experiment' was born.

Bouncy Castle Hamlet

This was, as its name suggests, Hamlet, staged entirely on a Bouncy Castle. It was first of the Bouncy Castle shows, and was taken to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2006, the idea being that tragedy plus bouncy castle would equal hilarious physical farce. In this show few of Shakespeare's words were changed, giving the illusion of a 'serious' theatre company. Visual gags included a miniature bouncy castle for use as a stage in the famous 'play within a play' scene; the Ghost being played by an inflatable sex doll; and the use of other inflatables at every possible opportunity - most famously, Hamlet beating Polonius to death with an inflatable armchair. In practice, the original lines were supplemented by a great deal of Pantomime-style ad libbing. The show attracted a great deal of media attention, featuring several times on national television.

"Production Crew:"
*Director - William Seaward
*Producer - Mari Lewis
*Stage Manager - Alex Chua
*Tech Director - Bill Ruddock

"Cast:"
*Hamlet - James Bland
*Claudius - Marc Sebastian Head
*Ophelia - Sarah Clarke
*Polonius - Stuart Lindsay
*Gertrude - Rachel Niethercut
*Horatio/Rosencrantz - Paul Young
*Guildenstern/Laertes - Matthew Pallas
*Players - Laura Karran
*Pirate/Voice of ghost - William Seaward

Bouncy Castle Macbeth

Again, this show kept to Shakespeare's original text, this time much edited. Memorable features of this production included Macbeth's 'dagger of the mind' being replaced with a giant bloodstained inflatable banana; Lady Macbeth being played by a man; and all the weaponry and armour being constructed entirely from modelling balloons. The sex doll, this time on a fishing line, made a comeback as Banquo, and the play began with an endorsement from the 'ghost of William Shakespeare', also made out of balloons. Birnham Wood was represented by several inflatable palm trees, with which Macbeth and Macduff went on to violently beat each other at the end of the play. There was also a bouncing Highland Fling. The show was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2007, featured in The Times '100 Best things to see at the Fringe', was previewed in The Scotsman and later featured on the second series of ITV's Britain's Got Talent.

"Production Crew"
*Director - William Seaward
*Producers - Fran Harvey/Jen Payne
*Stage Manager - Roisin Carr
*Tech Director - Ian Williams
*Choreographer - Lauren Clancy
*Costumes - Laura Archer

"Cast"
*Macbeth - James Bland
*Lady Macbeth/Voice of Shakespeare - Marc Vestey
*Witches - Becca Atkey/Rachel Niethercut/Nicola Carter
*MacDuff - Jonathan Wills
*Lady Macduff - Becca Atkey
*Duncan/Monk/Voice of Banquo - William Seaward
*Malcolm/Murderer/Doctor of Physic/Monk - Paul Young
*Ross/Monk/Murderer - Stuart Lindsay
*Lennox - Stuart 'Bus' Young
*Monk/Murderer/Seeton - Jim Durdin

Bouncy Castle Dracula

The first play in the Bouncy Castle series to veer away from Shakespeare, this production will be devised by the cast and crew of the show. It will be performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2008.

"Production Crew"
*Producer - Becca Atkey
*Director - William Seaward
*Ast. Director - James Bland
*Stage Manager - Melissa Clissold
*Tech Director - Ian Williams
*Costumes - Jo Bailey
*Choreography - Avisha Patel

"Cast"
*Dracula - Marc Vestey
*Jonathan Harker - James Bland
*Doctor Seward - Matt Hawkins
*Professor Abraham Van Helsing - William Seaward
*Lucy Westenra - Becca Atkey
*Mina Harker - Avisha Patel
*Renfield - Paddy Fysh
*Mrs Clitoris - Rachel Niethercut
*Lord Godalming - Sean Rushton
*Quincey Morris - Stuart Lindsay

Credits

*2005 - Waiting For Godot, by Samuel Beckett
*2006 - Bouncy Castle Hamlet, adapted from William Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'
*2007 - Bouncy Castle Macbeth, adapted from William Shakespeare's 'Macbeth'
*2008 - Bouncy Castle Dracula, devised by cast and crew of the company

References

*Scott, K. "Bible Reading and a Bouncy Castle Hamlet: it must be the Fringe" "The Guardian", June 9 2006
*"Hamlet in a Bouncy Castle? Certainly!" "The Guardian", July 13 2006
*Costa, M. "Enter Hamlet, carrying an inflatable chair" "The Guardian", August 7 2006
*Lukowski, A. "Bouncy Castle Hamlet" "Metro"
*Majendie, P. "101 ways to massacre Shakespeare" "Reuters" August 2006
*Kennedy, M. "People" "The Guardian", July 26 2007
*"100 best things to see in Edinburgh" "The Sunday Times" July 29 2007
*"Bouncy Castle Macbeth" "The Scotsman", August 4 2007
*Majendie, P. "Quirky titles vie for attention at Edinburgh Fringe" "Reuters" August 6 2007
*Smith, K. "Bunker Shot" "The Herald", June 29 2008
*Carrell, S. "Edinburgh 2008: This time it's serious, say festival organisers" "The Guardian" June 5 2008
*"Fringe Benefits" "The Daily Record" June 6 2008

Notes


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