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Queen Mother Theatre

November 8, 2010

I had an impromptu visit to a little local theatre on Saturday night, to see Macbeth. All these years we’ve lived here and never visited the home of the Bancroft Players in Hitchin. I’d seen a couple of outdoor productions of Shakespeare at the Dell next door, but never ventured into this charming little place before. It’s small but perfectly formed! A little box office, coffee shop and bar – and a theatre seating up to 171 people. It was dark and atmospheric as we walked in to find our seats – with a refreshing “sit anywhere” policy. The floor crunched underfoot – the players would be performing immediately in front of row ‘A’ and we were walking across a forest floor!

I must admit I’d had a few reservations about watching a local amateur drama group. Big Spirit Theatre group are all aged between 14 and 18 years old, and are the youth arm of the Bancroft Players.  I can hardly put into words how this production made me feel. The acting talent of their leading players was easily as good as anything I’ve seen in the West End – their timing, projection, and sheer emotion transcended onto the audience with ease, there was hardly a cough or a shuffling of seats among us, it was quite breathtaking. From the madness of Macbeth and his Lady, and the bloody gore of their murders (those of Macduff’s children was particularly horrible) – my friend and I were in total awe of the whole performance. I have to say I was a bursting bubble of emotion as we left after a well deserved standing ovation.

I emailed the theatre group later that night, I felt that talent like this deserved positive feedback. I received a lovely email back from them today, thanking me for our support. Young people often receive bad press these days, and the future job market for them seems bleak. With more support and encouragement, these guys can certainly look forward to a bright future.

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