Mystery A-lister to star in Shakespeare play staged in Barking

PUBLISHED: 07:51 18 September 2015 | UPDATED: 11:38 18 September 2015

Liza Vallence, the artistic director of the Merchant of Venice

Liza Vallence, the artistic director of the Merchant of Venice


Get ready to camp through the night to get your hands on Shakespeare tickets to see a mystery “A-lister” play the lead in a Barking-based show.

Studio 3 Arts have proposed a reimagination of the Merchant of Venice, in what they promise to be their “most ambitious and high profile project” yet.

Staged outdoors, the play will be highly contextualised in Barking and Dagenham but will stick to Shakespearean language.

Liza Vallance, artistic director at the socially engaged arts practice, has promised the main part will turn a few heads.

“We’re talking to a select few A-list actors at the moment to play the lead but I can’t reveal any names yet – I don’t want to jinx it,” she said.

“This is the most ambitious and high profile project we’ve ever done, bringing actors and non-actors together to create something incredible.”

The town centre and high street will be the backdrop as the audience travel to difference sets through out the show.

And locals will get the chance to perform alongside the mystery star with auditions for the classic opening in spring.

“There will be eight professional actors and the rest will be locally sourced people,” Liza added.

“I think it’s a really exciting time to put Barking and Dagenham on the map. We want to celebrate the borough and the people who live here.

“A project like this is all about raising aspiration in creative practice and profiling the borough as a cultural destination.

“People here are really strong when it comes to fighting race hate and some of the themes in the show resonate.”

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, pledged £10,000 towards the project as part of his £9million High Street Fund.

Studio 3 Arts must raise the rest of the money via crowdfunding or the conditional pledge will be removed.

They have raised £45k so far and have about 15k more to go.

“We’ve got plenty of time. The show will go ahead no matter what,” Liza reassured.

Residents with a Barking and Dagenham postcode will get first dibs of tickets, with 70 per cent especially set aside.

Ten performances will run in July 2016 with tickets costing £5.

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