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The International Shakespeare Festival is one of the most prestigious theatrical events in the world, and the 2016 Festival, which will be held in Craiova, Romania, is no exception. With companies such as the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre of Israel taking part, the festival is a major global event that brings together the very best in international theatrical work, and this year will see the Worcester Repertory Company exporting its smash hit production The Comedy of Errors onto the international stage. Ben Humphrey, Associate Director of the Worcester Repertory Company, directed the fast-paced and fun-filled production that ran last summer in The Commandery Gardens and is looking forward to taking the Rep’s work to a wider audience.
“The fact that only four companies from the UK have been invited to take part in the festival is a testament to the superb quality of the work that the Rep produces and the talent that we work with. To have the opportunity to showcase our work on the international stage is a huge honour, and to do so alongside some of the finest theatre companies in the world is quite incredible. The Worcester Rep has such an incredible pedigree of actors, directors and professionals that have started their careers at the Swan and now the work we do can be seen on the international stage... it’s beyond brilliant.”
The four companies who have been invited to take part from the UK are The Royal Shakespeare Company, The Globe Theatre, Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory and, of course, the Worcester Repertory Company. Former members of the Rep include Imelda Staunton, David Harewood, Phylida Lloyd, Sean Pertwee, Celia Imrie, Joanna Riding and a whole host of stellar theatrical names. The current company is made up of a mixture of regional professional actors and visiting professionals, and stages major productions in venues such as The Commandery, Worcester Cathedral, and the Swan Theatre. It also produces new work in the Vesta Tilley Studio as well as Theatre-in-Education Tours and currently has four touring shows travelling the country.
Ben Humphrey is keen that more people know about the Rep’s work. “The work that the Rep does is fantastic and it is another example of how culture and talent in Worcestershire is thriving. The hastag #WorldClassWorcestershire is a big thing at the moment and the Rep is very much a part of that.”
The festival takes place in Craiova, Romania from 14th – 23rd April 2016.