National Theatre’s Public Acts initiative continues with Shakespeare’s As You Like It at Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch

Following triumphant performances of Pericles at the National Theatre in summer 2018, the next Public Acts production, As You Like It begins rehearsals this week and will play from 24-27 August at Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch. Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch’s Artistic Director Douglas Rintoul directs this musical adaptation first seen at the Delacorte Theater, New York, in 2017 as part of The Public Theater’s Public Works programme.

Forced from their homes, Orlando, Duke Senior, his daughter Rosalind and niece Celia, escape to the Forest of Arden, a fantastical place where all are welcomed and embraced. Lost amidst the trees, they find community and acceptance under the stars.

This UK premiere sees more than one hundred community members, professional actors, and performance groups from across London, come together for this magical tale of faithful friends, feuding families and lovers in disguise. Our Public Acts community partners are Body & Soul, Bromley by Bow Centre, Coram, DABD, The Faith & Belief Forum, HASWA (Havering Asian Social Welfare Association), Open Age, Queen’s Community Group and Thames Reach.

The cast includes Beth Hinton-LeverLinford JohnsonEbony JonelleRohan Reckord and Vedi Roy, alongside over 100 performers recruited through our community partners and cameo groups.

This version of As You Like It, adapted by Laurie Woolery and Shaina Taub, featuring music and lyrics by Shaina Taub, will be directed by Queen’s Theatre Artistic Director Douglas Rintoul, and will feature set and costume design by Hayley Grindle, musical director Yshani Perinpanayagam, choreographer and movement director Sundeep Saini, lighting designer Paul Anderson, sound designer Leigh Davies. The score is infectious, with sounds ranging from calypso to pop, Broadway musical to soul.

Emily Lim, Director of Public Acts said, “We have had a wonderful second year deepening our relationships with all our exceptional community partners and the brilliant Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch. We can’t wait to bring everyone together to get started on rehearsals for our summer production. We are particularly excited to be working with a brand new creative team on this joyful, ambitious adaptation and to be welcoming lots of new community members to the company”.

Douglas Rintoul said, “Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is thrilled to be the first Theatre partner working with the National Theatre on their excellent Public Acts programme. I can’t wait for our stage here in Outer East London to be the home for As You Like It. The project is transforming lives, communities and organisations (ours included) and we are immensely proud that Hornchurch will be at the heart of that this summer.”

Live captioning and audio description will be available at all five performances.

Public Acts is inspired by Public Works, the Public Theater’s ground-breaking programme in New York and by the visionary participatory work of other theatres and artists across the UK.

Supported by Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Fund, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Hertz, Mr & Mrs A Mosawi, Simon & Sue Ruddick and Garfield Weston Foundation.

The National Theatre’s Partner for Learning is Bank of America Merrill Lynch.