18th Oct, 2017

Shakesperean verse plays given new lease of life at Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Stratford Editorial 28th Aug, 2015 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

TWO Shakespeare Institute students who set up their own theatre company are making waves at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Richard O’Brien and Rebecca Martin created Haunted House Theatre so they could write and perform plays in a Shakespearian style in a bid to bring back the ‘lost art’ of verse plays.

The duo raised £3,200 to pay for the actors, travel and accommodation needed to put on their first play ‘Free For All’. They have now taken the show on a two-week-long run at the Fringe festival – which attracts some half a million people every year.

And the audience are enjoying the show – a black comedy farce set in a haunted school.

Richard – a 24-year-old poet from Stratford – said: “The Edinburgh Fringe is the world’s largest arts festival and we want to make a splash. We want people to talk about our work and the unusual genre of theatre in which our play is operating.

“It’s been gruelling work and there is a lot of competition, but we have had some really positive feedback from the audience with people laughing in all of the right places.

“The play appeals to different groups of people in different ways, so we are just hoping to bring in as many new people as possible over the next few days to enjoy our play.

After completing their run in Edinburgh the cast and crew are hoping to take their show on a tour around the region.

Richard told the Observer: “We want to revive a kind of theatre where the power of language can make anything happen.

“If people can’t remember the last time they saw a verse play then that’s good. It’s one of the reasons we are doing it.”

Visit hauntedhousetheatre.wordpress.com to find out more.

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