The Octagon Theatre and Prime Theatre (previously Sixth Sense Theatre) are co-producing the world premiere of The Macbeth Curse (19 – 23 April 2016), the hilarious new play by Horrible Histories creator and acclaimed author of over 250 books, Terry Deary.
Directed by Prime Theatre’s Artistic Director, Horwich-born Mark Powell, The Macbeth Curse follows arrogant Sir Alphonse King and his Sixty Minute Shakespeare Ensemble as they begin rehearsals of Macbeth for a Royal Command Performance, and find themselves struggling against spookily unexpected circumstances.
While Lady Macbeth is busy complaining about Sir Alophonse’s ego, and Macduff is playing the fool to keep everyone’s spirits up, mild-mannered stage manager Miss Jessica Peacock has to battle her stage-fright to save the show. But with an actor missing, props breaking in their hands, and ghostly goings on, the entire troupe begin to fear the worst…have they fallen foul of the infamous Macbeth Curse?
This chaotically condensed version of Shakespeare’s own words is cutting-edge Edwardian theatricality at its finest, integrating Music Hall Songs, magic, madness and, of course, all things Macbeth, in the candid, side-splitting style synonymous with Terry Deary.
Commenting on The Macbeth Curse, Mr. Deary, whose work has been translated into over 40 languages, said: “Shakespeare wrote for the stage. He wrote to entertain audiences of all ages and classes. If he failed he’d be out of work. He didn’t write so the whining schoolboy, creeping like a snail unwillingly to school, could study, dissect, learn and be tested on his words. He’d be disappointed by the sleepy classroom lessons. He wrote so we could be entertained. He transported his audiences to other worlds using the magic of theatre. On the 400th anniversary of his death, in April 2016, The Macbeth Curse is a fun way of exploring both one of Shakespeare’s great stories and some of the artifices that theatre has used to make the world of fantasy into a world of fascination.”
Starring Kirsty Cox (DogTag, Theatre West, Jane Austen – The Interview, Natural Theatre Company, Things Break, Wardrobe Theatre, Medusa, Bristol Old Vic), Robin Hemmings (Peter Pan and Wendy, Octagon Theatre Bolton, Wargame, Bristol Old Vic, The Golden Cowpat, Sam Rose in the Shadows, Tucked In Productions, Bath Time, Oxford Playhouse) as actors Margaret Jones and Harry Pond, Kate Spencer (Un-Election Aftermath, Fountain Pen, Dirty Hands, 20:20 Vision, Sticks and Stones, Firehouse Productions UK tour, Aladdin, Chaplins Pantomimes) as poor stage hand Jessica Peacock, and Christopher Talman (A Man of No Importance, Salisbury Playhouse, The Firework Makers daughter, Birmingham Stage Company, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Witchford Players, Under the Greenwood Tree, The Dorset Corset Theatre Company, Little Red Riding Hood, Theatre Royal Winchester) as the self-titled ‘Sir’ Alphonse King, The Macbeth Curse will tour schools in the South East for seven weeks before transferring to Bolton schools from 11 to 16 April. The play will further enjoy a series of performances in the Octagon Studio (19 – 23 April).
Prime Theatre’s Artistic Director Mark Powell, who attended St Joseph’s RC High School in Horwich, and whose first experience of theatre was at the Octagon commented: “In 2016, Prime Theatre will be celebrating 30 years of work with young people, and we wanted to work with a playwright that they would be excited about too. Knowing it would be a show about Shakespeare, I considered who knew about history but also had the wit and imagination to capture new, young theatregoers instantaneously. Terry Deary immediately sprung to mind.
For the Octagon to come on board as part of their refreshed commitment to young audiences in their new artistic programme was a double treat: this means Terry’s magic is being shared equally amongst thousands of families North and South. 2016 is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s legacy, so The Macbeth Curse really is an extra special celebration for two very timeless storytellers.”
Elizabeth Newman, Artistic Director at the Octagon Theatre, said: “We are thrilled to be working with Terry Deary on his new play The Macbeth Curse. I’ve been a fan of Terry’s work for a long time. I’ve always been inspired by how much he captures the minds of children and young people and ignites their passion to read and explore literature. The relationship with Prime Theatre, now led by the innovative Mark Powell, is a very important development. We want to collaborate more with schools, and Prime shares this mission. The Macbeth Curse provides a brilliant opportunity for us to connect with our local children and young people and to begin a meaningful dialogue all year round. It’s vital to our new artistic policy that children of all ages have access to great art all year round – we want them to really experience Shakespeare.”
The final performance of The Macbeth Curse, on 23 April, will fittingly commemorate the 400 anniversary of The Bard’s death, and the performance will be preceded by a special investigate morning regarding the incredible playwright and his work.
For more information and to book tickets visit The Octagon`s website HERE