Romeo and Juliet

By William Shakespeare
18th to 20th May 2017 | Lincoln Drill Hall

We haven’t tackled a Shakespeare play since 2007, when we joined forces with the now defunct Lincoln Shakespeare Company to stage Julius Caesar. So we were excited when Vicky Ashberry volunteered to direct Romeo and Juliet, and it turned out to be one of our most successful and most favourably received productions to date.

It was a production that was not without its problems: three cast members pulled out for various reasons in rehearsal, so a certain amount of re-casting was involved. We also had far more women than men at the auditions, which led to the decision early on to cast the play gender-blind with women playing Mercutio, Benvolio, Escalus and Father Laurence. This decision, along with the updating of the play to Verona in the 1960s, the echoes of fascism and the live music, made this a truly interesting performance.

The music really took the play to another level, and it was great to hear 1960s songs from the period combined with original music composed for us by our musical director Robert Steadman.

We were determined to find young actors to play the title roles and we were lucky to unearth two university drama students – Aiden Clark and Sophie Marlowe – who worked extremely hard on their roles and produced performances of remarkable maturity and solidity.

They were supported by a cast which featured a good deal of experience – Colin Brimblecombe as Montague, Jez Ashberry as Capulet, Stephen Gillard as Tybalt and Ruth Andrews as Escalus – as well as a sprinkling of youngsters. Georgina Wilmer and Emily Ashberry in particular brought a whole new dynamic to the relationship between Mercutio and Benvolio.

We sold 430 tickets over three performances of the play and managed to make a small profit, which was a bonus for us. We also welcomed 100 pupils from two local schools who, we hope, enjoyed this refreshing and thought-provoking production of a well known play.

What they said:

“We were very impressed with what we saw; in fact… I doubted if I could find anything wrong with the production. It was excellent both from the actual staging to the acting all round. Not only that but the diction was pretty good, too.

“The fight scene was quite superb; very well choreographed and executed. I thought the musical interludes were delightful and added much to our enjoyment.” – Anne Huckerby

“What a brilliant production of Romeo and Juliet! Everything came together so beautifully: the action, the music, the stage, it was such a slick and professional show. Huge well done to everyone involved.

“For such a well known script there were so many fresh aspects, including the musicians, that I’m not sure I’ll ever see it topped! I can’t wait to come and see the next production! Bravo!” – Kerri Saxby

“Thought it was a brilliant production – funny, poignant and touching. What triumph!” – Elaine Howells

“Not a big Shakespeare fan but this lively interpretation kept my interest. The period, the stylish minimal set, the lighting, all backing up sensitive, well directed performances all round. And with a classic 1966 McCartney ballad for added potency! What was not to like? Well done!” – Ray Longmore

“I very much enjoyed Romeo and Juliet. Strong cast throughout… I particularly liked the way the emotional power of the performance grew as the show went on, drawing the audience in through the performance.” – Michael Church

“We had a great evening and the students really enjoyed the performance – we even had some tears at the end!” – Melissa Scott, Banovallum School

“Thoroughly enjoyed Romeo and Juliet last night. Especially good to see young actors being given opportunity and a young audience watching accessible Shakespeare.” – Phil Hamlyn Williams


Romeo Montague Aiden Clark
Juliet Capulet Sophie Marlowe
Antonio Montague Colin Brimblecombe
Lucrezia Montague Julia Ross
Giorgio Capulet Jez Ashberry
Patrizia Capulet Su Toogood
lAnnetta Capulet Peggy Reading
Benvolio Emily Ashberry
Tybalt Stephen Gillard
Mercutio Georgina Wilmer
Paris Simon Harvey
Balthasar Joel Ellin
Father Laurence Pamela Marnie
Escalus Ruth Andrews
Director Vicky Ashberry
Assistant Director Stephen Gillard
Stage Manager Shelagh Gillingham
Lighting Joe Price
Sound Wilfried Nass
Stage crew Kev Gillingham
Wardrobe Carolyn Jones, Su Toogood
Properties Su Toogood
Fight choreography Fox Walters
Programme / publicity Jez Ashberry
Photography Bill Bartlett, Catherine Clough
Original music composed by Robert Steadman
Band Robert Steadman, Hannah Borrill, Daniel Foster
Make-up Hannah Brown
Front of House Eileen Finningley, Ros Rowe, Elaine Howell,
Martin Noble