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MACBETH (article first published : 2004-12-3)

Hardworking and popular theatre company The Actors Co-operative is already in top gear in preparation for a bumper new year. Following the sellout successes of their previous presentations of the KZN Matric Shakespeare setworks, The Actors Co-operative is in pre-production for a brand new staging of Macbeth in February.

Mounted in association with The Playhouse Company and The National Arts Council, the play will be the sixth in the Actors Co-operative's fully professional annual Shakespeare undertakings.

Actors Co-op booking agent Margi Coppen has announced that the production has attracted a record advance of over 4,000 bookings from 30 KZN high schools. She says that enquiries are coming in thick and fast. For this reason, Margi has suggested that schools interested in offering learners the opportunity to see this staging should contact her as soon as possible as a sell-out season is on the cards.

National Vita Best Director Garth Anderson, who has been at the helm of all the Co-ops previous Shakespeares, will be responsible for this full-scale production.

Macbeth will star powerful young Quincy Fynn in the title role opposite Actors Co-operative leading lady, Lucy Wallace. Lucy was seen as Desdemona in the Co-op's 2004 Othello while Quincy was seen opposite Lucy in Much Ado About Nothing. Oded Rouche and Andile Mngadi will lead the strong supporting cast, playing Banquo and Macduff respectively. Rowan Bartlett will play the Porter, with Mpume Mtombeni and Mamtandi Zulu leading the trio of witches. Garth Anderson completes the highly experienced professional ensemble.

Learners who watched the Co-ops stagings of multi-Vita Award winning Hamlet and Othello all commented on the fact that seeing the plays staged in their proper context, live and in the comfort of a fully-equipped professional theatre was the greatest aid to understanding the complexities of their setwork.

In 2002, the Co-ops work was highly praised by Dr Manfred Schroenn, Regional Director of the Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa: I recently had the privilege of seeing a superb production of Hamlet directed by Garth Anderson: Actors Co-operative," he wrote. "The audience comprised a diverse handful of adults and some 300 African pupils. I was struck by how these pupils were totally engaged, riveted by the performance of the play. And at the end, the spontaneous and prolonged applause was followed by a shared sense of having experienced a profound catharsis. A youngster near me sighed to himself: Aah, Hamlet! I had no doubt that Shakespeare should continue to be given space in the curriculum. And it was wonderful to hear that this performance was seen by some 15,000 KZN pupils over a period of five weeks.

The two hour long full production of Macbeth will be presented at the Playhouse and at the Hilton College Theatre, as well as in the Empangeni and Port Shepstone Civic Centres. Performances will be staged in a six week season from February 7, weekdays at 08h30 and 11h30.

The cost is R30 per learner, with one teacher per 30 pupils admitted free. Bookings will be done by The Actors Co-operative agent Margie Coppen. For further information, or to book, Margie can be contacted on 083 251 9412.




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