Drama students choose the Bard for debut

Mary HamiltonThree drama students have started a new theatre company that will raise cash for charity with cultural productions.Support Norwich on FacebookOfficial Norwich 2013 bid websiteMary Hamilton

Three drama students have started a new theatre company that will raise cash for charity with cultural productions.

Shaun Kitchener, Emma Clarke and Rosalind Hewett, all undergraduate students at the University of East Anglia, have formed the Blackout Theatre Company, whose debut performance takes place next month.

The company has chosen Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew for its first production, and instead of turning a profit from the show it will donate the revenue from tickets to Alzheimer's Research Trust.

'We have chosen The Taming of the Shrew for our first play because it's very accessible,' said 21-year-old Mr Kitchener, who directs the production.

'Some of Shakespeare's plays, brilliant as they are, can be quite hard to grasp, but Shrew is a familiar story for a lot of people because it has been retold in films like Ten Things I Hate About You.

'We're all pretty keen on drama anyway, but we wanted to get more experience with putting on a production and we have had no problem finding people willing to get involved.

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'It has been more difficult than working within the university but hopefully in the long run it will work out well.'

Mr Kitchener said he had wanted to raise money to fund Alzheimer's research since his nan Gladys King died from the condition in 2008.

Stage manager Miss Clarke is also raising cash for the charity by swimming the channel - but she has a week and a half to do it.

The 20-year-old will swim 397 lengths of the swimming pool at the UEA Sportspark over ten days - equivalent to the distance it would take to cross the channel.

Mr Kitchener said they hoped her efforts would raise enough money to pay for the hiring costs of the Garage, so that the full ticket price could be donated to Alzheimer's Research Trust.

The students all have more than a year left at university, and Mr Kitchener said if their first performance went well they would be hoping to continue the company.

'Staying in Norwich to carry it on is definitely on the table, as is passing it on to younger students as they come to the city,' he said.

The Taming of the Shrew is at 7.30pm at The Garage on May 5 and 6. Tickets cost �5 and are available from www.blackouttheatre.wordpress.com or on the door.

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