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Clowning Around at the RSC this May Half Term




The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) is offering families a host of exciting activities over the May Half Term including a visit from Tweedy the Clown; award-winning actor and director Tim Crouch in I, Malvolio; and family-friendly events from storytelling to circus skills.


Suitable for ages 3-93, Tweedy’s Massive Circus will transform the Avonbank Gardens with its very own little ‘Big Top’ from 24 May – 2 June. The production opens in Stratford-upon-Avon and then tours to Salisbury, Henley-on-Thames and Cheltenham throughout the summer, with dates in London and Edinburgh to be announced soon.


The star of Giffords Circus, Cirque Beserk, and the Cheltenham Everyman pantomime Tweedy the Clown and his friends Sam Goodburn, Reuben Greeph and Loren O’Dair attempt their own circus show in their ‘little’ big top this summer. What could possibly go wrong?


Tweedy the Clown. Photo by Craig Sugden.


Tweedy is a contemporary vaudeville style clown who performs in theatre, circuses as well as TV and film. He is an expert in traditional circus and plays multiple musical instruments. In January 2023, Tweedy was named in the King’s New Year Honours List for his services to Circus and local community, being awarded a BEM (British Empire Medal).


Commenting on his latest show, Tweedy the Clown said: "Clowns have always been a big part of Shakespeare's work, appearing in most of his writing in some form or another so I am very excited to be kicking off the tour for my brand-new show ‘Tweedy’s Massive Circus’ in Stratford-upon-Avon as part of the RSC programme.”


Also, Tim Crouch’s critically-acclaimed one-man show, I, Malvolio visits the Swan Theatre for four performances on Thursday 30 and Friday 31 May.


I, Malvolio. Photo by Tim Crouch.


I, Malvolio is a charged, hilarious and sometimes unsettling rant from a man adrift in front of a cruel audience. Inspired by William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, part abject clown, part theatre-hating disciplinarian, Malvolio asks his audience to explore the pleasure we take in other people’s suffering in this timeless story of bullying, prudery and practical jokes.


Tim Crouch said: “I, Malvolio is the fourth in a series of solo plays I’ve written looking at things through the eyes of Shakespeare’s lesser characters. I’ve been a bit obsessed with Malvolio ever since I played him in a production of Twelfth Night years ago.


“As a character he resonates around ideas of order and anarchy, cruelty and compassion, around the vulnerability of love, the tragic consequences of self-delusion. I like the irony that he is a theatre-hating puritan stuck inside a play – prone to all the random chaos an audience can inflict on a performer. Twelfth Night is a maze of plot. Rather than trying to explain every twist and turn, I have let Malvolio run a little free. He would hate me for it.”


I Malvolio is written and performed by Obie award-winning Tim Crouch (An Oak Tree, The Author, Adler & Gibb, Beginners and Truth’s a Dog Must to Kennel) and designed by Olivier Award-winning Graeme Gilmour. The recommended age guidance is 11+


Tweedy the Clown. Photo by Craig Sugden.


Family friendly workshops and activities during Half Term include a week of Creative Upcycling inspired by the RSC’s upcoming production of Kyoto in which participants will create items to take home using different techniques from applique, sewing, painting and decoupage.

 

Visitors to the RSC can also take part in skills-based drama workshops inspired by William Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Macbeth, interactive workshops in Circus Skills and Clowning, Mask and Puppet-making and Prop-Making and Performance alongside Family Storytelling and interactive play sessions for ages 4+ inspired by Shakespeare’s The Tempest and, back by popular demand, Blood, Guts and Gore interactive make-up demonstrations.


For full event information, visit www.rsc.org.uk/events/may-half-term-activities

 

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