01:04PM, Monday 19 June 2017
It was once a mainstay of theatres the length and breadth of the country.
But for many repertory theatre, the regular rotation of plays through which some of the UK’s greatest thespians have cut their teeth, is now a relic of a bygone era.
And yet where it survives, albeit in a modified format, it is determined to show it is more than just a novelty.
“The challenge for the actors is to create these characters in a very short space of time and that’s the tradition of repertory theatre,” said Stuart Borrows, a producer and director with the Windsor Repertory Festival.
He added: “It was great training for actors and actresses.
“A lot of great actors like Sir Ian McKellen did it and have talked about what great training it was.
“And now more and more regional theatres are talking about bringing it back.”
In an age of streaming and entertainment on-demand there is something both anachronistic and also strangely modern about easily being able to seek productions featuring favoured actors.
But Burrows is also accepting that despite its resurgence in popularity, rep as it once was is unlikely to return anytime soon.
He said: “There’s no theatre’s doing it every week and I don’t think that will ever come back.
“But audiences really value seeing an actor or actress in one play and then being able to see them in another completely different one.”
For his part in the festival he takes the helm of Dial M for Murder, based on the original Alfred Hitchcock movie.
Burrows said: “He [the husband] is trying to get away with the perfect murder, but on the night things go wrong and the audiences follows both the wife and her husband through the investigation.
“It’s a real thriller and if people haven’t seen it [the film] before, it’s amazing.
“And even if people have already seen it, it’s wonderful to see it on stage.”
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