Young Bedford actors take Shakespeare to Spain in shoestring production

A group of young budding thespians from Bedford are taking the Bard to Spain in a whistle-stop shoestring production.
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The 10 young people from Bedford Young Theatre are visiting Albacete, Murcia, Toledo and Madrid to perform Romeo and Juliet in what will be a debut for all of them.

Aged between 16 and 21, the young troupe of actors and actresses from Bedford schools and the University of Bedfordshire have been busy rehearsing for the last three months in preparation for the eight performances from December 10-13.

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The idea to tour the play in Spain is the brainchild of Spanish actress, María Graciani, who as well as directing the play, has also made all the costumes.

A member of Bedford Young TheatreA member of Bedford Young Theatre
A member of Bedford Young Theatre

Colleague on the tour, Aidan Huxford - a retired head of Spanish at Bedford School - said: "The company could be renamed Shoestring Productions since it is running on minimal money and all the costumes are made out of recycled items from charity shops, mainly attractive old curtains but expertly refashioned.

And the 61-year-old added: "When Maria isn't directing, she's a seamstress too."

The theatre group's audiences will be teenagers from secondary schools who will watch a version of the play in simplified English. While not an original twist, the play also boasts a multi-racial cast.

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And as Adrian pointed out, it will be a demanding experience for the troupe.

Bedford Young TheatreBedford Young Theatre
Bedford Young Theatre

The actors - who in the run-up to the tour, have already fitted everything in with their school and university commitments - will put on two performances every morning and often have to pack away all the props, get on a bus and move on to the next town straight away.

Aidan, who also plays Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet, said: "These youngsters are looking forward to it but they don't know what it will be like. They are going to be like rock stars touring. It's going to be amazing.

"For those who are planning to make the theatre their career, it will be a memorable starting point."

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