The Tempest at The Courtyard
Presented by The Courtyard Senior Youth Theatre, at The Courtyard, Hereford.
We went along to watch William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, a little unsure of how the evening would go. Let’s be honest, it takes some really good acting skills and very sound understanding of the text to portray Shakespeare to a modern audience, confident that they are ‘getting’ the meaning, even if they don’t understand every word spoken.
While performed by The Courtyard’s ‘Senior’ Youth Theatre, these actors are between 14 and 18 years old, so to expect this from a cast of such young actors was, I felt, a bit much. But wow, I have to say, they really pulled it off! I was blown away by the talent (and courage) on stage, and the entire cast held the audience captivated throughout. Did everyone in the audience understand every word? No… who honestly does when watching Shakespeare? But did they follow the plot, laugh in the right places, and enjoy the evening? Absolutely!
The production, scenery, lighting, and music (composed and produced by Hereford College of Arts music students Oscar Mannox and Emily Semple) were all highly professional and captured the mood of the play throughout.
If ever there was an advertisement for just what The Courtyard’s Youth Theatre groups can do for a child’s self-confidence, team spirit, focus and determination, this production of The Tempest is it. Every actor shone, and all deserve a mention, as they all gave such a professional performance. Get a programme while you are there – you may well be witnessing the birth of some real stage stars! Jake Dixon was incredible as Prospero – special award for how many lines he had to learn, and he delivered them so well!
Amy Sheridan is the perfect Miranda; her body language spoke the script even more than her lines, again delivered beautifully. Jacob Florence as Trinculo had everyone laughing along and was obviously an audience favourite. Jarko Palfi received a great amount of much deserved applause too – he certainly brought Caliban to life for everyone watching. The Ariels were captivating, with some graceful and acrobatic moves. In my opinion, the most dazzling star of the evening was Noah Shepherd (Ferdinand), who held an incredibly confident and natural stage presence. The phrase ‘born for this’ sprang to mind, I’m sure we will see more performances from him for many years to come.
The Tempest is running at The Courtyard until 30th July.
You can learn more about The Courtyard’s Youth Theatre here.
All photos by Kie Cummings.
The Courtyard Senior Youth Theatre’s production of The Tempest is kindly supported by The Brailsford Trust.