Company back to its old haunts

DERBY Shakespeare Theatre Company returns to some old haunts next month for a production of Hamlet.

This will be the company’s first appearance at Derby Theatre – or Derby Playhouse as its former home was known when they last performed there – in ten years.

In this return to the big stage after a decade’s absence, the company is presenting one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. Hamlet, completed in 1601, contains the enternal themes of treachery, love, hatred and suspicion.

It’s a ghost story, a love story and a murder mystery. The central character is the confused only son of a dysfunctional family – all human life is there.

Although Hamlet is a tragedy, it not without humour and lighter moments. As an old lady in the audience once remarked, ‘this play is full of quotations!’

There is a play within the play, fights galore and moments that cannot fail to stir the emotions.

Terry Smith’s energetic production uses the technical facilities of the stage to full. Terry’s daughter Laura, who has recently achieved her MA on Shakespeare and the Theatre is assistant director. In the court of Denmark, all is not well. Hamlet’s father is dead and his mother has married his father’s brother.

Hamlet, unhappy at his mother’s incestuous marriage, discovers that his father was murdered by his brother. There are very few people that he can trust and he decides to feign madness in order to avenge his father’s murder.

The cloak of insanity enables him to observe and listen. As a character, Hamlet lacks confidence, he is indecisive and moody. He alienates those who would like to be close to him and his story is familiar to anyone who follows detective fiction.

The complex character of Hamlet is played by award-winning actor and director Chris Scott with Jenny Earl as his mother, Gertrude, and a talented young actress Elena Fox as the girl Hamlet loves but rejects in his pursuit of revenge.

Derby Shakespeare Theatre Company has used all its resources to makes it return to Derby Theatre memorable in what promises to be a big year for the company.

Later in 2011, members will be moving to their Cornish clifftop home to perform Much Ado About Nothing at the prestigious Minack Theatre.

The production at Derby Theatre runs from March 15 to 19, commencing at 7.30pm each night. Tickets are available from the box office on 01332 255800 or online at www.derbylive.co.uk.