Forget treading the boards, the Lamb Players are bringing a cast of ten professional actors who will be trampling the grass to perform Shakespeare’s As You Like at Peel Fold, Henley On Thames this weekend (10-12 August)
The Lamb Players were founded in 2009 by four talented thespians: LAMDA-trained actress Francesca Rowan-Plowden (and tenant at that time of Lamb House in Rye); Tamara Harvey, one of the leading theatre directors of her generation and now the artistic director of Clwyd Theatr Cymru; Rob Hastie, a graduate of Cambridge and RADA, nominated in 2015 for Evening Standard and Olivier Awards and now the artistic director of Sheffield Theatres; and Stephanie Street, a graduate of Cambridge and LAMDA, with many theatre credits at the National Theatre and elsewhere.
The essence of The Lamb Players is to perform brilliantly acted and directed productions of Shakespeare in the English countryside, and to make the plays accessible and enjoyable, not just for ardent fans of the Bard but for occasional theatre goers as well.
The company now numbers over 40 actors with extensive experience at the RSC, the National Theatre, in the West End and on Broadway, and on film, television and radio. The preparation for the plays consists of intensive rehearsals in London and then on location at the venue, under expert direction. The compressed timetable gives the plays a particular energy and vibrancy. The Lamb Players have dubbed them guerrilla plays for that reason and part of the draw for the actors that keeps them coming back each year is the challenge that they pose.
One of Shakespeare’s best-loved comedies, As You Like It is a magical and musical romp about love. When strangers Rosalind and Orlando are banished from court, both escape to the Forest of Ardenne. Brilliantly drawn characters then help (and hinder) them to make a match. Cross-dressing aplenty, the age-old battle of the sexes is blown apart as four sets of lovers fight it out away from the constraints of court.
This Lamb Players production features original music and a stellar cast. The action is transported to 1942 in the thick of WW2, the court is a dangerous and Blitz-blasted London and the Forest of Ardenne is an idyllic English Country Garden.
Director Bobby Delaney says: “As You Like It is packed with music, high drama and brilliant comic opportunity. It’s a play that puts women in charge and celebrates the differences in gender. This will be dynamic outdoor theatre with an astounding pool of talent on stage.”
All proceeds will go to Chiltern Centre for Disabled Children and Thames Valley Adventure Playground
Book tickets via thelambplayers.com/peel-fold-henley/