‘Bloody, chaotic and full of witchy mayhem’ – Macbeth production at ARC by stage and screen students
The contemporary staging of the play, which follows Macbeth after receiving the prophecy from three witches, will investigate ambition, desire and the spiritual. This dark and powerful show is an opportunity for the School’s second year Acting students to showcase their abilities and tell the well-known story afresh.
Performed at ARC in Stockton-on-Tees on Wednesday 26 and Thursday 27 April at 7pm, the production is a collaboration between the wide range of stage and screen degree programmes at The Northern School of Art including Acting, Film, TV & Theatre Production, Production Design and Costume Interpretation with Design.
Second year BA (Hons) Illustration for Commercial Application degree student Alex Kelly created the poster, pictured at the top, for the production.
Acting student Alex Wallace, from Doncaster, who is playing Macbeth, explained more about the production and the style of the interpretation of their version of the play: “It is set in the modern day, but we keep the language the same. But what makes this interpretation different to others is that a lot of the male roles have been given to women. For example, me being a woman playing a traditionally male role. The Northern School of Art do gender blind casting which I think is amazing. The men in the 1600s played women, so why can’t the women play men now!”
Fellow acting student, Darcey Dawson, from Derbyshire, who is playing Lady Macbeth is enjoying the rehearsal process saying: “It’s a fun, friendly and creative environment that allows us to play and focus. It’s a judgement free zone where we experiment with different ways of performing a scene.
“Shakespeare can be scary but in rehearsals we approach it slowly and clearly so that everyone is on the same page and completely understands their lines and scenes.”
Elen Bodey, from North Wales, explained: “For our interpretation of Macbeth, the witches play a bigger part than other productions. They are also inspired by the cult in the film Midsomer, which is a really exciting concept. This is effective as Macbeth is constantly on edge and it gives the play an overall eerie tone.”
The play is a classic tragedy but the creative team have aimed to make it accessible and dynamic. Darcey added: “People should come and see Macbeth because it is different from every other adaptation of the play that I have watched, taking elements of them but changing them to fit our aesthetic.
“It’s bloody, chaotic and full of witchy mayhem… what’s not to love!”
The Northern School of Art’s Faculty Leader for Stage and Screen, Jonny Bussell, said: “This is a really exciting production showing all of the different disciplines within our stage and screen faculty. Our second year actors are a really strong year group who are doing brilliantly in rehearsals and the play is really coming to life.
“The set and costume design departments have everything coming together and all involved are keen to show what we’ve been working on.”
The performance can also be viewed as a live stream online on Thursday 27 April at 7pm with multiple cameras in the style of a National Theatre Live broadcast.
Jonny continued: “The Film, TV & Theatre students are doing the tech for the theatre performance but also are working hard on putting together shots and technical aspects ready for the live stream.
“It is a real technical and creative challenge for the students but they’re already putting together some really cool sections when we’ve had them in filming.”
This production is part of the ongoing partnership between The Northern School of Art and ARC.
The play is Pay What You Decide meaning members of the audience don’t pay a penny until after the performance. Tickets can be booked through ARC’s website HERE
Further information about The Northern School of Art’s Stage and Screen degree qualifications is available at www.northernart.ac.uk