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Preview: Romeo and Juliet at Newcastle Theatre Royal


Romeo and Juliet
Newcastle Theatre Royal
Tuesday 5 – Saturday 9 February 2019

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has cast eight young actors from across the North East to perform in its production of Romeo and Juliet which plays at Newcastle Theatre Royal.

The youngsters – 13 year olds Sarah Caitness, Magan Hall Murray, Maggie Sheppard and Mia Clake, 15 year olds Lucia Bowers and Mariana Boada, Sarah Orton who is 16 years old and Adele Irimiea, 17 – all attend Sacred Heart High School in Fenham, Newcastle and will take to the stage and work with the professional company during the week long run in the region.

The young cast will perform in the Chorus as two teams of four performers and have been selected as part of the RSC’s Associate Schools programme – a partnership between regional theatres, including Newcastle Theatre Royal, and schools across England.

Romeo and Juliet is the tragic story of love at first sight and explodes with intense passion as two young lovers are ripped apart by the bitter divisions of their parents to risk everything to be together and marks the RSC’s triumphant return to Newcastle Theatre Royal.

Erica Whyman, the production’s director, said: “By welcoming young talent onto the stage through our Associate Schools programme we are able to open up a dialogue with young people in education in ways we have never before been able to do. By inviting these young people to join us on stage I want to celebrate the diverse talent of the UK and highlight the revolutionary heart of this most timeless love story.”

Robin Belfield, RSC Young People’s Performance Developer, added: “This is an exciting project to be involved with. In selecting the participants, we were looking for young people who have a passion for theatre, enjoy the challenge of performing Shakespeare, and are able work collaboratively within a company of actors.”

Ahead of the opening night, the young people will take part in two rehearsals with members of the RSC’s Education team and the Romeo and Juliet creative team before joining the professional acting company for a rehearsal on the Newcastle Theatre Royal stage.

The professional cast the young people will be working with are: Afolabi Alli (Paris); Donna Banya (Gregory); Stevie Basaula (Sampson); Ishia Bennison (Nurse); Katy Brittain (Friar John/Apothecary); Raif Clarke (Peter); Beth Cordingly (Escalus); Paul Dodds (Montague); Josh Finan (Benvolio); Karen Fishwick (Juliet); Andrew French (Friar Laurence); Bally Gill (Romeo); Mariam Haque (Lady Capulet); Michael Hodgson (Capulet); Charlotte Josephine (Mercutio); John Macaulay (Cousin Capulet); Tom Padley (Balthasar); Sakuntala Ramanee (Lady Montague); Raphael Sowole (Tybalt) and Nima Taleghani (Abraham).
Romeo and Juliet is directed by Erica Whyman and designed by Tom Piper with lighting by Charles Balfour. Music is by Sophie Cotton and movement by Ayse Tashkiran.

Photos: Topher McGrillis

RSC’s Romeo and Juliet plays Tuesday 5 – Saturday 9 February 2019. Tickets are from £14.50 and can be purchased from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 (Calls cost 7ppm plus your phone company’s access charge) or book online at

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