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Students mash hip-hop, rap and Shakespeare in Julius Caesar production

22nd February 2019

Students from Paston College have used their creativity to bring a contemporary interpretation to Shakespeare’s history play and tragedy, Julius Caesar.  

Performance Studies student Anna Ryan, 18, is playing the lead role of Brutus in this dynamic production from the Far East Theatre Company, which opens at the Griffon Theatre on 26th February.

Ms Ryan has also written a rap-style narration to extend the role of Cinna the Poet (‘Sinner’ in this version) to bring a 21st Century urban slant to the play which is thought to have opened at the Globe Theatre in 1599.    

Although Cinna’s part in the original script is short-lived, as he is killed by an angry mob in a case of mistaken identity, the manner and circumstances of his death raise deeper questions about the consequences of having a mob mentality and a very polarised political environment.  There are many parallels to be drawn with social and political issues today, which are further reinforced by Sinner’s contemporary style of narration.

As well as extending the role of Cinna, through the new narrative parts Ms Ryan has written, this version of the play also features hip-hop music to create the edgy urban feel of a city on the brink of revolution.

Paston College student Anna Ryan, who says that a career in acting is her dream, commented:

“It’s been lovely to be involved in the Far East Theatre Company during my two years at Paston.  I’ve really enjoyed bringing Shakespeare into a more modern context, both with this production of Julius Caesar and Henry V which we did last year.  Hopefully the use of rap and hip-hop can help bring Shakespeare to a wider audience and make it more accessible to people.”  

Julius Caesar runs from Tuesday 26th February to Friday 1st March in the Griffon Theatre, Paston College, Grammar School Road, North Walsham, NR28 9JL.

Tickets are £4.50 + booking fee or £5/£3 on the door.  Bookings can be made online or by ringing 0844 8889991.