Stafford's summer showpiece event, Stafford Festival Shakespeare, is only a few months away and for this year's hotly anticipated production of The Tempest, Producers are looking to create a night of "magic and wonder" for local audiences - with a little help from renowned magicians, Morgan & West.
Acknowledged as Shakespeare's final solo play, The Tempest is widely celebrated as one of The Bard's most enchanting works. It follows the story of Prospero, the exiled Duke of Milan, who becomes stranded on a largely uninhabited island where music, magic and supernatural creatures provide a strange education for him and his young daughter, Miranda.
Twelve years pass by and Prospero acquires some basic magic & self-taught mysticism of his own, all the while protecting his daughter from the slave, Caliban.
When Prospero's magic (with the help of his sprite, Ariel) causes a shipwreck, mayhem ensues in the course of one incredible day: Miranda falls in love with the shipwrecked Prince Ferdinand, murder plots are formed then abandoned, 'nally Prospero is reconciled with the brother who usurped him and all head safely home to Italy.
"When I first sat down to discuss the play with the rest of the Creative Team, our talk constantly returned to the themes of magic and illusion, which form the backbone of the story" commented SFS Producer Derrick Gask.
"As a result, for the production this year we have decided to channel these themes in order to create a night of magic and wonder for our audiences, using a mix of live and recorded music, dance, visual treats and (perhaps just a little) magic with the help of our 'Illusion Consultants', Morgan & West" concluded Gask.
Earlier this year, the self-professed 'time travellers and all-round spiffing chaps', Morgan & West, performed two hugely popular shows in the MET Studio at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre. Having received a warm welcome during their brief stay in the County Town, the pair are excited to be retuning this summer to assist in preparations for The Tempest.
"We're thrilled to be aiding in the creation of some illusion and mystery for this year's SFS" commented Rhys Morgan.
"Magic is a large theme in many of Shakespeare's works but this play in particular provides great scope for lots of befuddlement and trickery... we can't wait to get started" concluded Morgan.
The Tempest will open on Thursday 22nd June and run until Saturday 8th July 2017 at Stafford Castle.
Established in 1991, Stafford Festival Shakespeare has fast become one of Europe's largest open air Shakespeare productions.