Shrewsbury School

Drama pupils discuss roles with original cast of Caroline Bird’s Trojan Women

Wednesday 29 September 2021

Ahead of performing scenes from Caroline Bird’s adaptation of ‘Trojan Women’, Lower Sixth pupils were given the opportunity to talk with the original cast of the play in a Zoom call.  

Also chatting with the pupils was Chris Haydon, Artistic Director of The Rose Theatre, formerly Artistic Director of The Gate Theatre, who commissioned the adaptation in 2012.  

The experience gave invaluable insight into why Caroline Bird decided to create a modern adaptation of the play, and its relevance to a modern audience.  

The students were able to speak directly to the actors who originated their roles.  

Eva G (G) who will be playing Helen, had the opportunity to speak directly with Louise Brealey (star of BBC’s ‘Sherlock’) who originated the role.   

“Speaking with Louise Brealey, who played three of the characters in Trojan Women, was an incredibly exciting and insightful experience. I will take lots away from this experience as I was able to ask questions about many aspects of the character. Speaking with all the actors meant that we could grasp a very good understanding of the show as a whole. The biggest piece of advice was to think of the underlying intention and motivation of the character, and by doing this all of your actions and vocal work would come naturally,” said Eva.  

Laurie M (Rb) said: “The principal lesson learnt from the cast of ‘Trojan Women’ was that of spontaneity and instinct. In a nutshell, learn the words until you know them like the back of your hand, then once you start rehearsing, wing it and see what happens. Become the actor that you would want to see on the screen or the stage. Whether or not you achieve substantial success, you will be proud of yourself. That is the advice I was given by the cast of ‘Trojan Women’.” 

Drama teacher Mrs Cissone has joined Shrewsbury School after 15 years working as a professional actor and hopes to create many more opportunities for the students to engage with the theatre industry in the future. Next week, the Upper Sixth will be speaking with actors Sarah Woodward and Gavin Fowler about their experiences working on Henry V with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Guildford Shakespeare Company.  

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