The Tempest comes to Pembrokeshire
Hilton Court Gardens played host to the lively outdoor performance of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest one sunny July evening and the audience were treated to a fast-moving and interactive, promenading theatrical experience. Taking Flight Theatre Company is a multi-talented team making creative access in theatre happen and this production is proving a great attraction all across Wales and over the border to Bristol.
Watch our videos from their performance and listen to the audio podcast interview, below…
This Welsh theatre company works with physically disabled, sensory impaired and professional actors creating film and live theatre in addition to running workshops and training sessions. Pembrokeshire holds a special significance to Taking Flight as its founders, Elise Davison and Beth House, came up with the idea and planned their future company while strolling around the gardens at the Stackpole Estate. Since its inception in 2008, their creation has grown in fame, accolades and reputation, gaining numerous awards and attracting applications from well-known professional performers as well as giving opportunities to talented newcomers.
Anyone attending a show will be amazed and delighted at the exceptional talent and diversity in skills amongst the company – not only in playing multiple roles and multiple musical instruments, but in sheer theatrical expertise and passion for their craft.
Don’t expect to sit for long – although, a light-weight chair will be a useful accessory – I lost count of how many different locations around the gardens the audience and company moved to during the performance, but that was nothing to the fast-paced costume changes and moving of props by the actors.
There are still chances to see this play in other venues across Wales and Taking Flight Theatre Company is busy throughout the year working with schools, street theatre, festivals and in collaboration with many Welsh community groups.
If you would like to get involved, donate or become a friend of Taking Flight please explore their website by clicking here, or connect here on Instagram or follow them on twitter @takingflighco.
Interview just before the show with actors / musicians Sam Bees and Huw Blainey from Taking Flight Theatre Company:
LISTEN HERE (mp3) | Transcript below:
Introduction: Welcome to another edition of PembsLifeOnline Podcast.
In today’s episode we have an interview for you with Taking Flight Theatre Company’s Sam Bees and Huw Blainey, both multi-talented actors and musicians. Here they talk with our reporter, Suzanne Ashworth, pre-performance at their recent production of The Tempest by William Shakespeare, performed at Hilton Court Gardens in Pembrokeshire.
Taking Flight Theatre Company was founded by Elise Davison and Beth House when they met at Stackpole on a project in 2008.
It’s such a lovely Company to work for. We’ve been going from strength to strength, with the shows getting bigger and bigger every year.
Our ethos is ‘Access’, that’s the most important thing and everything else goes from there; We’ve integrated British Sign Language as part of the performance, integrated Audio Description, which we’ve been really workshopping and improving every year and I think we’ve just about nailed it now; I mean, I think it’s never perfect but I think we’ve done a pretty good job – you’ll see for yourself.
I look forward to that. So, how many outdoor shows do you perform each year?
They’re all outdoors! All Promenade and we just use the backdrops we’re blessed with… really, aren’t we ….in Wales?
How far afield do you go? Do you go far beyond Wales?
We done Bristol Festival at Blaise Castle Dairy Farm this year and we’re (performing) at the Forest of Dean next week but, predominantly, we’re in Wales.
And how many people are in the Company?
Huw Blainey joins with Sam:
Well, there are two Stage Managers and a cast of eleven – so, that’s 13, which is a big number, really, on tour.
(That’s) been growing, yes.
How much of the year do you spend out ‘On Tour’, then?
We have four weeks of rehearsals then we go outdoors for the first time and spend a whole week outdoors, and we do a few concerts in Cardiff, and then we’ve been on the road, I think for about seven weeks, now… and then next week will be the final week.
There’s so much to think about, in terms of adding the Audio Description and integrating the British Sign Language and, because I think it’s so important to us, we need to do it justice.
And it’s good that we get on really well as a Company.
Yes, you know, you catch yourself…. sometimes you’re really tired, you’re complaining and you think, ‘Oh gosh, we’ve got two shows today,’ but you step back and think, ‘Oh, look what I’m doing for a living.’
‘Look at where I am and look at how happy it makes people.’ And you just think, ‘lovely audiences and…’ you know, they come from all over…. it’s beautiful!
Do you expect any challenges?
We have had to practice the costume changes (they are quite something) Sometimes, when we’re outdoors, because each place you go you set up your costumes (ready) in different places, a couple of times I’ve definitely gone to go for a costume in (the wrong) place.
Well, we’ve been rained on quite a few times…
Huw to Sam:
…the other night…
….but we just get on with it, really. The audiences are fairly tenacious; they’ll turn up with their raincoats and their umbrellas and the show WILL go on!
Well, here we are, it’s the beginning of the school holidays, the sun’s just come out – I bet you’ll get a few extra in the audience tonight. Thank you.
TheTempest – Cast:
Dean – Prospero
Steph – Miranda (Prospero’s daughter)
Sian Owens and Huw Blainey- Antonia (Prospero’s wicked sister) and Sebastian and Stephano
Sam Bees – Alonso & Trinculo
Ioan Gwyn – Ferdinand (Son of Alonso; also plays Caliban) falls in love with Miranda
Paul Henshall – Gonzalo (Prospero’s old friend)
Milton Lopes – Ariel (works as Prospero’s right hand man but wants to be free)
Sami Thorpe – British Sign Language interpreter
Lauren Burgess and cast
Editor – All media – Ken Mahoney.
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