Following the success of previous live streams, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest, and Sonnets & Carols, William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, directed by Caron Hall, will be a zoom rehearsed reading on Saturday 31st July at 7.30pm (BST).
Phil Aizelwood (Dorcas/Lord) and Oliver Cotton (Old Shepherd) are joining previously announced cast members, Helen Adie (Lady in Waiting/Dorcas/Lord), Ben Elder (Cleomenes/Gaoler/Mariner/Mopsa), Tim Fitzhigham (Autolycus), Alistair Hall (The Clown), Charlotte Hamblin (Hermione), Maia Jemmett (Perdita), Malachy King (various), Katherine MacRae (Emilia/Dorcas), Michael Mears (Antigonus/Third Gentleman.), Pamela Miles (Time/Chorus), Wendy Morgan (Paulina), Mark Quartley (Leontes), Louis B Rhone (First Servant/Lord), David Sturzaker (Polixenes), Barnaby Taylor (Florizel) and Leo Wringer (Camillo) with music from Finn Collinson and Oliver Wass.
Q: Read our Q&A with Charlotte Hamblin (Hermione)
Q: Firstly, how have you managed to survive, both physically and mentally, during this pandemic?
Charlotte: I’ve been very lucky. Alongside acting, I’m a screenwriter, so I’ve been kept very busy during lockdowns. Sitting at home and working alone is something I’m pretty used to so I was weirdly pandemic ready. Though I missed my cat William Brown, who lives with my Mum, he face-timed me a lot and that helped. I’ve completed Netflix, Amazon Prime and Now TV… don’t think I’ve got anything else to watch really.
Q: Can you tell us about Shake Festival?
Charlotte: Shake Festival is run by the wonderful Jenny Hall, bringing Shakespeare into our living rooms, which is very cool! It’s obviously been so devastating for theatreland these past 18 months and companies like Shake Festival have really kept things alive.
Q: You are performing in The Winter’s Tale – a live-streamed rehearsed reading: How do you prepare for this type of production?
Charlotte: It’s going to be odd not being able to see or feel the audience, something that I really rely on, but that’s part of the challenge, I guess. Jenny has been a great help. It’s about five years since I’ve touched Shakespeare and I think there’s always a bit of fear there. We’ve all worked really hard, and I think you’ve got to be as technical as possible with the text and then the emotion comes. Oh, and lots of coffee helps…
Q: Can you tell us about this particular production of The Winter’s Tale?
Charlotte: Well, it’s all over zoom, so there’s no set which means we’re letting the text speak for itself. I think the beauty of a zoom reading is you’re right up close to the actors. Normally, (because of ticket prices) I’m up in the Gods. So, I think it’s wonderful to see Shakespeare so up close although it’s scary for the actors as there’s nowhere to hide. Lord knows what my neighbours think when we rehearse the Court Scene!
Q: You play the part of Hermione – can you tell us about your interpretation of her?
Charlotte: Hermione is a part I’ve always wanted to play, but I think it’s only recently I really understood her. I think it’s an interesting time to be playing her, looking at the recent treatment of women in high society and how they can be scrutinised and dragged over the coals so publicly. But also, I’ve reached the stage in life where my friends are having babies. I’ve seen up close what it’s like post labour, and it has just made what happens to Hermione even more harrowing. I struggle to forgive Leontes personally. That’s been my greatest challenge.
Q: Who should sign-up to watch The Winter’s Tale?
Charlotte: Well, it’s safe for one! You can go to the theatre without having to worry about being pinged or getting ill! I think it’s wonderful, up close and personal. And the cast are really something…
Q: What’s next for you in 2021?
Charlotte: I’m in a WW2 film coming out later in the year called Operation Mincemeat and I’m currently on script commission for Olivia Colman’s company and Mark Gordon Pictures in the US so I’ll be kept very busy!
Charlotte Hamblin plays Hermione. Her theatre credits include Miss Julie (Theatre by the Lake/Jermyn Street Theatre/UK tour), After the Dance (Theatre by the Lake), Strings (Royal Court Theatre), For Those Who Cry When They Hear The Foxes Scream, Oleanna (Tristan Bates Theatre), Dry Land (Jermyn Street Theatre), Twelfth Night, Dickon (Oxford Shakespeare Company) and The Comedy of Errors (Cambridge Arts Theatre). Her television credits include Call the Midwife, The Stand Up Sketch Show, The Alienist: Angel of Darkness, McMafia, Downton Abbey, If I Don’t Come Home: Letters from D-Day; and for film, Bloody Cakes.