Shakespeare coming to Barking streets after £80k target reached
PUBLISHED: 15:19 03 November 2015 | UPDATED: 15:19 03 November 2015
PA/Press Association Images
The greatest story ever told about a moneylender is coming to the streets of Barking after an arts company raised more than £80,000 through donations.
Shylock, Portia and Antonio will now tell the tale of The Merchant of Venice, one of William Shakespeare’s most acclaimed plays, next summer.
Liza Vallence, artistic director at Studio 3 Arts, said: “It is so liberating to have the funds in place. What it means is we don’t have to worry about finance anymore and can concentrate on the juicy creative stuff, which is what we’re best at. Now we can go full steam ahead with the show.”
Donations came from many sources, including £40,000 from Creative Barking and Dagenham and £25,000 from Vicarage Field Shopping Centre – and Liza said the response was inspiring.
“It’s so lovely seeing so many local people donate,” she said. “It confirmed that it wasn’t just me that wanted this to happen. It’s been so reassuring.”
Reaching the target also means those involved in the project can indulge their creativity – and one idea in the works is to advertise the play in a novel way.
“We are hoping to hire out a shop in Vicarage Field for a month before the performances and turn it into a payday loan company named ‘Shylock’s’.
“I think that will really engage people.”
Also on the agenda is the adaptation of Shakespeare’s verse to reflect the modern tongue of Barking and Dagenham.
“We’ll be sitting around in cafes listening to people speak, I imagine,” Liza said. “And we also want to speak to people from the borough to get their opinion on the language we should use.”
With eight professional actors set to be involved in the production – performing alongside local people – the biggest unanswered question is the composition of the cast.
“We won’t be getting Benedict Cumberbatch, I’m afraid,” Liza said. “He’s far too expensive.
“But we do hope to get in some actors with a connection to the area. There’s such a rich cultural heritage here.”
There will be 10 performances of The Merchant of Venice in streets and buildings around Barking next July, with tickets costing £5. Studio 3 Arts is still accepting donations at spacehive.com/merchantofvenice, with additional money now going to expanding capacity.