THE countdown has started for the first ticketed theatre production in the Midlands since lockdown began.
And it won’t be happening in some big city theatre or even the Palace Theatre in Redditch – but in Studley at the village’s sports and social club.
The open air socially distanced performance of Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer’s Night Dream will be staged over three nights by Auntie Jen’s Productions, a company that grew out of local resident Jen Stone’s lockdown comedy monologues for the Studley Isolation Support Group.
Jen put out more than 100 performances on Facebook and YouTube to the delight of not just local people but folk the length and breadth of the country – and all filmed in her garden shed.
Since bringing the curtain temporarily down on those shows the professional actress and director is back by popular demand.
“There was a feeling at SISG that we couldn’t just stop, so here we are,” said the local mum.
Studley Sports and Social Club has provided the venue and the parish council has donated £500.
The Bard’s play, one of his all time favourites, will be performed on the back of a lorry trailer donated by Studley firm Allelys.
Arden Churches has also donated a sizable sum so hard up local families can see the performance.
Such has been the buzz the show has even been featured online in national newspaper The Guardian.
“We’ve also been talking to the community about creating our own costumes rather than hiring them,” said Jen.
“It means we’ll be able to keep them for future productions.
“We’ll also be using a local company to supply coffee and cakes and we’re sorting out a barbecue too, so we’re keeping it all local.”
Meanwhile a pantomime is in the works and there’s talk of a summer show for children at next year’s Studley Festival.
“It’s amazing that something so positive has come out of something so terrible and sad as this pandemic,” said Jen.
A Midsummer’s Night Dream by William Shakespeare is on Friday, July 31, Saturday, August 1 and Sunday, August 2.
Tickets are just £6 from https://tinyurl.com/y4avnx84