[Press & Publications] Much Ado About Something [Students; Literature]

April 2000

No 70

Non-stop performance of complete works of Shakespeare could be a world first

Hear ye, Hear ye! All those thespians in our midst will be intrigued to hear that the student theatre at the University of Leicester is planning to perform the complete works of William Shakespeare back to back!

The plays will be performed continuously, 24 hours per day and in chronological order, beginning on 1 May and lasting for approximately five days.

Taking up their scripts against a sea of fatigue, three students are even planning to take part in all of the performances, a feat that necessitates them camping in the Students' Union!

As the marathon is intended to be truly comprehensive, later works such as The Two Nobel Kinsmen and Henry VIII, written in collaboration with other playwrights will be included, as will Edward III, a play only recently accepted into the Shakespeare canon. Also due for an airing is Sir Thomas More, a 250-line fragment that has the distinction of being the only work of Shakespeare's to have survived in the author's own handwriting.

Dr Roger Scoppie, who has masterminded the project, said: "We have been in contact with the RSC and the Guinness Book of Records to ascertain whether or not this marathon performance will be a world-first. If it is, the sense of occasion and achievement will be all the greater, making the marathon an even more memorable one."

The reason for this monumental undertaking is to raise funds for an educational trip to the Shakespeare Youth 2000 Festival in Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania. The focus of the Festival will be on innovative approaches to Shakespeare, and Leicester University Theatre, with its production of As You Like It, will be the only group representing the UK.

Additional funds raised will be donated to the Leicester-based Institute for Cancer Research.

In search of commercial sponsorship for their trip the Leicester students are planning to tailor their performances of every play to the particular requirements of each company! For instance it is hoped that a cleaning company could support A Comedy of Errors and one of the big high street banks The Merchant of Venice.

As the centre piece of their efforts the Leicester University Theatre will be performing As You Like It on the 4, 5 and 6 of May.

It certainly promises not to be much ado about nothing!

NOTE TO NEWSDESKS: For more information, please contact Dr Roger Scoppie on 0116 252 2416.

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Information supplied by: Barbara Whiteman
Last updated: 06 April 2000 11:47
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