The Scottish play is coming to the atmospheric setting of the Square Tower in Old Portsmouth this week. The Southsea Shakespeare Actors, who performed Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors at the Station Theatre, Hayling Island last November, are swapping tomfoolery and twins for blood and revenge in their production of Macbeth, showing from 12th-15th March.
Rob Bartlett, who plays the title role, tells us why the play is so popular among theatregoers, and what the audience can expect from this production.
This is one of Shakespeare’s plays that most people know at least a little about, whether it be the ‘is this a dagger I see before me’ quote or the infamous character of Lady Macbeth. Why do you think it holds such appeal for audiences?
I think it’s because of the mix of supernatural, unbridled ambition and human weakness – we may not all do what the Macbeths do, but we’ve thought about it! If we were given a supernatural push and told by powers beyond our understanding that it would all be okay, we might just act on those impulses more often.
I also think it’s because Macbeth’s descent into madness is so well observed and written that it makes it utterly compelling, and a joy to play. In one line ranting and in the next line totally lucid. The jerkiness of his thoughts makes it a perfect portrayal of manic behaviour.
The play also barrels along at a heck of a pace – there isn’t the flowery poetry of Romeo and Juliet for example, it’s all plot, character and action. I also think that almost every character gets their moment in the spotlight – Lady M and Mackers obviously, but Malcolm, MacDuff, Lady MacDuff, Banquo and even the Porter get their chance to shine (to name but a few)!
There’s a superstition in the theatre world that it’s bad luck to mention the ‘M’ word on the night of a performance, regardless of the play. What’s that all about?
To be honest I have no idea!!! I talk about Macbeth all the time. I think there was some talk about bad things happening on various productions but to me it seems like a good way to get some publicity!
You’re performing at the Square Tower in Old Portsmouth – how do you think the setting will lend itself to the atmosphere of the play?
I think it will be brilliant! A big bare stone building, dimly lit with lots of shadows bouncing off the walls, candles – it will be fab. Also by doing it ‘in the round’ the audience will be really close. They will feel like they are in the scene, not just watching it. There will be times where they can’t see the face of the actor who is delivering the lines but that wont matter, a bit like when you are out with a big group of friends. You can’t always see the face of the person talking but you get a sense of what’s going on from everyone around you – and yes, that will include the other members of the audience on the opposite side of the room who can see.
We are doing some scenes with candles, so it will be really dim – really atmospheric!
Can you sum up in one (short!) sentence what we can expect from the Southsea Shakespeare Actors’ version of Macbeth?
It’s up close and personal – be ready to be part of the action!
To book tickets go to http://ssa.ticketsource.co.uk/events or find out more about the Southsea Shakespeare Actors at www.southseashakespeareactors.com.
The Far from Home project and exhibition is a collaboration between Armed Forces Community Covenant scheme, public funding from Arts Council England for Fusion lab taking place in Space, staff and students of the University of Portsmouth, Somerstown residents, local artists, Sharon Court (who ran the recent Somerstown Stories project) and Strong Island Media.
The Far from Home project brought together ex-service personnel and the family or personnel with students based at the Eldon building of the University of Portsmouth, with the group exploring the theme of being Far From Home. The theme was chosen as it was felt that both groups of participants in the projects could emphasise with the sense of leaving home for the first time, leaving friends and family and experiencing a new life. The students from the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries who have been working alongside these retired armed service personnel and their families learnt more about how it felt to be a new recruit, to be posted overseas, or to be far from home. The students have then created art, including photography, illustration, short films and creative writing based on these experiences for an upcoming Far From Home exhibition in Space. Film footage taken of students talking to and working with armed forces personnel on the project will also be shown. Additionally artefacts from the armed forces personnel will also be on display.
Residents taking part in the project have had the opportunity to also learn new things through taster workshops led by students and a tour of the recently extended Eldon Building, home to the faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries. These workshops and the tour are designed to break down barriers and increasing understanding for both groups of participants.
The Far From Home exhibition opens with a special afternoon tea on Friday, March 14 and will be open to the public from March 17-26. A book and film will also be produced showcasing the work created as part of the project.
You can find out more about the project at:
Time flies! In April it will be three years since Southsea Skatepark was handed over from Portsmouth City Council to a newly set up charity. To celebrate the anniversary plus the formal opening of the brand new skatepark skate and BMX shop the skatepark is holding a jam event on Saturday 26th April. The jam includes loads of fun events that anyone can try and get involved (if they feel up for it) with highest ollie, bunnyhop, a game of SKATE plus for the first time in decades, time trials to see who can go down the snake run the fastest. Along with all of this there will be demonstrations from local riders, food, live DJs and much more so if you haven’t been to the skatepark before or not in a little while, please come along and reconnect, as a charity the skatepark can only get better and better with the support of the local community!
In the evening there will also be a roller disco too so you are more than welcome to enjoy the skatepark for the whole day if you want to.
More details will be going up on the Southsea Skatepark website, Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter in the coming days and weeks:
(Artwork by Mimic from AllCaps)
Our 2014 Calendar was a huge success, the quality of images and huge amount interest it received really took us by surprise. We managed to double the sales of the 2013 Calendar, meaning we raised just over £600 for the Feel Yourself Campaign and the Alzheimer’s Society. We received over a thousand submissions by email and by use of the Instagram hashtag #sic2014.
We are excited to announce that we are taking submissions for our 2015 calendar. If you’ve taken a photo that you’d like to submit then you can email your submission via firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’ve taken a photo on Instagram that you’d like to submit for consideration you just need add the hashtag #SIC2015. There are no limits to how many you submit, the only rule is that the image must be relevant to Portsmouth.
Along with Instagram this year we also recommend you check out the Faded App. I’ve had a play with this App and you can create images that surpass anything that Instagram can produce. I especially love the overlay function.
If you have been taking any photos during this extreme weather we would love for you to submit them!
You may be aware that unfortunately due to an error our end the original batch of calendars contained a couple of errors. To rectify this the problem with the calendar we re-printed all of the calendars and offered everyone who bought one a free replacement (with free P&P where required). We are confident that we have managed to replace the vast major because of the online ordering records, however if you bought one from Lou Lou’s, Southsea Gallery or the Victorian Market then we don’t have your details so we need you to contact us ASAP to arrange a replacement! Those unclaimed calendars by the end of the week are likely to be donated to the staff of the charities we are supporting
Here are just a few of the submissions that we have already received that might give you some inspiration.
Both Gemma Butterworth
Portsmouth City Museum in March will be home to an incredible new exhibition dedicated to Portsmouth’s iconic Tricorn. The exhibition will not only look at the building from an architectural perspective but will also explore it’s place as part of the fabric of the Portsmouth community, ten years after it was demolished. Love it or hate it, the structure certainly made people passionate about Portsmouth and it was a key part of the skyline of the city for decades.
We are working with the museum on a range of events and activities that tie in with this exhibition and one of which is asking local people to donate or lend for copying their photos and videos of the Tricorn for a display to form part of the exhibition itself. If you would like to submit your photos please get in touch by emailing email@example.com. We would love to get as many photos of Tricorn together as possible so if you could share the details of this submission with your friends and family both in person and online via Facebook, Twitter, etc it would be really appreciated!
We will be announcing more details of some of the other things we will be doing in parallel with the Tricorn exhibition soon.
The photo below is one of a selection of striking photos of the Tricorn taken at night submitted by Paul Organ, used with permission:
With the (almost) completion of Eldon Building West the University of Portsmouth now has brand new gallery, exhibition and screening facilities, continuing under the name of Space. The very first use of this space is ‘Changing Faces’, an installation by Anglepoise®.
‘Changing Faces’ was originally designed for Britain’s leading product designer Kenneth Grange‘s exhibition at The Design Museum in London in 2011 with the organic, undulating wave of lamps and light displayed in a glass case in London. For the installation at Eldon Building West ‘Changing Faces’ sees Anglepoise® working with students from the University of Portsmouth to not only recreate the display but it will be adapted by the students to express dynamic new forms over the coming months, celebrates the iconic Anglepoise® brand, based in the City of Portsmouth.
The installation showcase complements and connects to the Creating Balance exhibition, showing at Aspex Gallery, which features the outcome of a year long collaboration between Strong Island, the University of Portsmouth students, alumni and staff and Anglepoise® to explore the concept of balance and the interplay between artists & photographers and the commercial object.
‘Changing Faces’ is open to the public at Eldon Building West on week days from 13th January – 28th February 2014.
Creating Balance Exhibition opens this Friday at Aspex Gallery with an opening party from 6pm, hope to see you there!
(Photo from Anglepoise®)
(Photo from Anglepoise®)