Touring production brings Shakespeare's works to Malvern for younger audience

Up The Road Theatre announce their 2016 autumn tour. Bardolph’s Box is a smallscale Shakespeare inspired production for 8-12 year olds, celebrating 400 years of Shakespeare’s work.

The 4-week tour will begin at Greenwich and Lewisham Young People’s Theatre in the week of September 26th then continue to visit schools, libraries and theatres across the country, including Cumbria, Northumberland, Malvern, Gloucestershire and Harlow, finishing on Saturday 22nd October.

Up The Road Theatre are a new company based in Kent who specialise in creating work that explores literature, culture and history.

Bardolph’s Box introduces children to Shakespeare’s plays. It will inspire the younger generation and make Shakespeare fun. The touring company compromises of 3 actors: Stuart Crowther plays Bardolph, Falstaff’s sidekick from Henry IV’s, Henry V and The Merry Wives of Windsor, Lucy Heath and Gareth Wildig play a number of roles.

The company explore some of Shakespeare’s lesser known plays and characters, such as The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Comedy of Errors and the Nurse from Romeo and Juliet. Their exchanges with Bardolph include both modern English and extracts from the plays, and opportunities for the audience to interact with the performers as they help Bardolph on his way.

Washed up on a distant shore, Bardolph finds an island in trouble. In his quest to save the isle, he meets a host of colourful characters from Shakespeare’s plays, including Cleopatra, Prince Hal, Ariel and cheeky Puck. Everyone needs a helping hand, and Bardolph is just the boy for the job – but he can’t do it alone!

Join Bardolph, on a roller-coaster ride through Shakespeare’s stories. Who will you meet? Where will you go? Can you get his pals out of a pickle? One thing’s for sure, you’ll have a whole lot of fun along the way!

Many young children are initially put off the plays by Shakespeare’s complicated language, but this production utilises Shakespeare’s language in a manner that makes it easier for a younger audience to understand.

Nicola Pollard, Artistic Director of Up The Road Theatre, said: "We're really looking forward to introducing children (and their families!) to Bardolph and his wonderful world. Through an exciting myriad of characters, we're exploring a number of Shakespeare's plays, including 'The Comedy of Errors', 'Antony and Cleopatra', 'The Tempest' and 'Twelfth Night'. Our audience are encouraged to help young Bardolph on his first big adventure, as he gets his friends out of fixes and deliberates their dilemmas. With live music, puppetry and a good dollop of humour, 'Bardolph's Box' is a brilliant way to celebrate Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary!"

“I’m really proud of our first production. We performed to over 1,700 children in the spring, the majority of whom joined in with gusto as they assisted Bardolph is his quest. It’s a lively piece, lots of fun and very energetic. Stuart Crowther is hugely engaging as Bardolph. It’s great seeing families enjoy the show together - although designed for a younger audience we always intended it to be a show that adults could also enjoy.” 

The production lasts approximately 50 minutes. The production had a successful spring tour in Kent and the north-west. Feedback from teachers included:
'Bardolph's Box makes the plays much more accessible'
‘The show demonstrates how child-friendly Shakespeare can be’
'This is a rewarding experience'
‘Bardolph’s Box adds a fun aspect to Shakespeare’
'The production stimulated all sorts of creative writing and ignited a real interest in Shakespeare'

For production shots please visit our website and download from our gallery or email Please credit Brian Roberts.

Tour Dates
We are primarily performing during the school day, in schools and public venues. Member of the public are welcome at performances in libraries – space permitting. Please see below for the schedule. 

Week 3 Monday 10th – Saturday 15th October Malvern and Gloucestershire
Tuesday 11th: Malvern Theatres
ednesday 12th: Gloucs Libraries (Stroud and Wotton)
Thursday 13th: Gloucs Libraries (Up Hatherley and Matson)
Friday 14th: Malvern Theatres
Saturday 15th: Malvern Theatres

Sarah Dawes