Students bring the Bard to life

Two of Shakespeare's classic tragedies were given a modern twist last week by talented performing arts students from East Berkshire College. Macbeth 4_Home_web

A cast of 29 students from the College's Langley Campus took to the stage to deliver captivating versions of two of the English playwright's greatest works; Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet. Both productions had all the intensity and poetry you would expect, but with modern costumes and settings.

Set amidst a heavy metal Goth subculture for today's audiences, Romeo and Juliet explored the themes of family feuds, gangland violence and teenage love. Meanwhile, students performed a dramatic Tarantino-style version of 'The Scottish Play' complete with sharp-suited gangsters and a kicking soundtrack.

Making an impression as the murderous Macbeth was first year student James Brooke (18, from Windsor).

James says: "I was so pleased to land the lead role as I really wanted this part. The language is so poetic - it has a real rhythm to it. Macbeth is a complex character, so I did a lot of research beforehand. I really wanted to show his transition from a nice guy to a power-mad man.

"As well as rehearsing, we have all worked together to create the set, props, costumes and marketing material. It's been hard work, but the lecturers have been very supportive. They are a real inspiration."

The productions were staged as part of a module of the College's Performing Arts BTEC National Diploma course. The students have spent the term developing their skills in this area of performance.

From September, the College's performing arts courses will relocate to the Windsor Campus in St Leonards Road in order to benefit from Windsor's vibrant arts scene and links with the Firestation Arts Centre.

The students will also be performing Romeo and Juliet as part of the Windsor Fringe Festival 2012 on Tuesday 25 September at the Firestation Arts Centre in Windsor.

For further information on East Berkshire College's performing arts courses, call 0845 373 2500 or click here.

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