HERE comes the call-out for community cast members to take part in York Theatre Royal’s majestic outdoor summer production, Sovereign, in 2023.
The world premiere of C.J. Sansom’s York-based Tudor thriller, adapted for the stage by York playwright Mike Kenny, will run in the grounds of King’s Manor, Exhibition Square, York, from July 15 to 30 next summer.
Applications are open to be involved in the cast and choir in Juliet Forster, John R Wilkinson and Mingyu Lin’s community theatre production on a grand scale, with York Theatre Royal seeking around 100 adults and young performers aged nine and over.
Set in Tudor York in 1541, the play follows lawyer Matthew Shardlake and his assistant Jack Barak who await the arrival of Henry VIII on his northern progress.
Tasked with a secret mission, Shardlake is protecting a dangerous prisoner who is to be returned to London for interrogation. When the murder of a York glazier plunges Shardlake into a deep mystery that threatens the Tudor dynasty itself, he must work against time to avert a terrifying chain of events.
Told through the voices of the people of York, the Theatre Royal production will release all the intrigue, conspiracy and thrills of Sansom’s novel. Alongside the community ensemble, two professional actors will star in the production too.
Co-director Juliet Forster, the Theatre Royal’s creative director, says: “We’re so excited to stage Mike Kenny’s brilliant adaptation of C.J. Sansom’s Sovereign next summer. To do so against the spectacular backdrop of the grounds of King’s Manor, where Henry VIII actually visited, makes it even more special.
“This is a York story and we’re thrilled to invite the people of York to be a part of this community production and help us to bring it to life on the stage.”
Co-director John R Wilkinson says: “York has a wonderful history of epic, large-scale community productions and we’re thrilled that Sovereign will be the focus for next summer.
“There are lots of opportunities to get involved. We would like to see even more people, who haven’t taken part in a community show before, join us for this special production.”
Fellow co-director Mingyu Lin adds: “This is a fantastic and rewarding opportunity to be involved in such a large-scale community production and we’re really keen to hear from people from all backgrounds and experience levels who are interested in taking part.
“Even if you’ve never acted before but have a passion for the stage, we’d love to hear from you. York has such a wonderful tradition of community theatre and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”
Cast and choir members are invited to express their interest via these links before Monday, December 19 December, ahead of January’s auditions.
Acting – Adults: https://form.jotform.com/222853605081352
Acting – Young people: https://form.jotform.com/223133353863352
In addition, an online and in-person drop-in session for people who identify as d/Deaf and Disabled and are interested in finding out more about participating will be held on Tuesday, December 6 from 2pm to 3pm.
This session will be led by co-director John R Wilkinson and community connector Lydia Crosland in the York Theatre Royal Studio or on Zoom at: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/81599256774 Meeting ID: 815 9925 6774.
Rehearsals will start on April 15 2023, taking in two weekday evenings and Saturday daytimes (times to be confirmed.)
All cast and choir members must be available for all tech rehearsals and the production run. Tech weeks: Weeks starting July 3 and July 10 2023. Opening night: July 15.
Show schedule: Saturday, July 15, 7pm; Tuesday, July 18, 7pm; Wednesday, July 19, 7pm; Thursday, July 20, 7pm; Friday, July 21, 7pm; Saturday, July 22, 2pm and 7pm; Sunday, July 23, 2pm.
Tuesday, July 25, 7pm; Wednesday, July 26, 7pm; Thursday, July 27, 7pm; Friday, July 28, 7pm; Saturday, July 29, 2pm and 7pm; Sunday, July 30, 2pm.
Opportunities for further volunteers to help out backstage, in areas such as stage management, wardrobe, lighting, props, marketing, photography, fundraising and front-of-house, will be announced in 2023.
Sovereign was the Big City Read in 2009. Find out more about C.J. Sansom’s Shardlake series here.
Tickets for Sovereign are selling fast already on 01904 623568, in person from the Theatre Royal box office or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk/show/sovereign/