Guildford Shakespeare comes of age
18 November 2023
Reporter: Sheila Connor
The Guildford Shakespeare Company is marking 18 years of theatre-making with its 'Coming of Age' programme.
Founded in 2006 by Sarah Gobran and Matt Pinches, who still lead the company, GSC's site-responsive approach using churches, castles, galleries, museums, quarries, lakes and even a real Boeing 747 encourages audiences to engage with their shared space and heritage and with the stories as more than just something to watch.
Shows have included an interactive multi-venue production of Alice in Wonderland, celebrating Guildford's connection to Lewis Carroll, and a promenade staging of The Tempest using six different venues in Guildford's largest public park. GSC's production of King Lear starred Brian Blessed, and its Hamlet featured Freddie Fox in the title role.
Pinches said, "to have survived the wettest weather, two financial crises and a pandemic (all with no core funding) has certainly been a rollercoaster, but it has been an absolute privilege to work with the hundreds of talented artists and I am so proud of the impact GSC has had on the lives of so many people in our community."
Gobran added, "to experience first-hand the power of theatre to effect change and genuine live-saving implications is both humbling and inspiring. It proves that the arts are a force for good. They bring understanding, compassion and resilience as well as great joy."
The company also has a thriving education and outreach element, with 13 in-house drama clubs every week and an outreach programme that supports the most isolated members of their community.
GSC will begin its 2024 programme with a new stage adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
- Pride & Prejudice - Jane Austen, adapted by Abigail Pickard Price (Guildford Shakespeare Company)