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Ipswich youth company gives Shakespearean tale a modern twist

The Eastern Edge Theatre Company rehearse for their production of Shakespeare's The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Photo: Contributed

The Eastern Edge Theatre Company rehearse for their production of Shakespeare's The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Photo: Contributed

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Expect surprises when Eastern Edge Theatre Company stage The Two Gentlemen of Verona at The Avenue Theatre later this month.

It's a contemporary take on the play, believed to be Shakespeare's first. Photo: ContributedIt's a contemporary take on the play, believed to be Shakespeare's first. Photo: Contributed

Telling the story of young people experiencing love for the first time, it’s believed to be Shakespeare’s first play.

“What’s exciting about the play is that we are setting it in the modern day, using contemporary costumes and soundtracks to bring the story into our era. It’s not what you might expect from your typical Shakespeare production,” said the Charlie Pittman, the company’s founder.

“The cast have hugely risen to the challenge of making the archaic language appear fresh and up to date. It’s truly brilliant to witness Shakespearean words performed in an everyday, 2017 setting. In rehearsals we have spent a lot of time adapting the text to fit in with the modernised situations and the effect is incredibly unique.”

The play has been adapted and directed by Evie White, who was drawn to the way it captures the feelings and experiences of young people. The show has also been a great way to highlight Eastern Edge’s youth led ethos.

The production runs at The Avenue Theatre, Ipswich, from April 21-22. Photo: ContributedThe production runs at The Avenue Theatre, Ipswich, from April 21-22. Photo: Contributed

The eight-strong cast, all from Ipswich, take on multiple roles. They’ve been rehearsing in Felixstowe since late January while production has continued on The Last Five Years and Bonnie and Clyde.

“The show has some excellent comedy moments mixed with darker, emotional themes, making it hugely satisfying to direct. We’ve taken the risk of setting the audience on three sides of the stage, meaning the cast have had the additional challenge of playing to all sides of the space,” adds Charlie.

“This is unlike anything the company has performed before and the cast are hugely enjoying the change. Audiences should expect to be interacted with at various points and the intimate setting of The Avenue means the action will take place up close and personal.”

• The Two Gentlemen of Verona runs 7.30pm, April 21-22, at The Avenue Theatre, Ipswich.

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