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Hammerpuzzle return to Cheltenham with new adaptations

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Author: Thomas Hadfield, Posted: Friday, 29th November 2019, 09:00

'Under the Greenwood Tree' is at the Everyman from Wednesday 4th to Monday 30th December 'Under the Greenwood Tree' is at the Everyman from Wednesday 4th to Monday 30th December

Bath-based theatre company Hammerpuzzle will be bringing two new shows to Cheltenham this month.

The company, which specialises in adaptations of classic stories, started the year with their productions of ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’ and ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’.

“This year we are very excited to be bringing two more adaptations to the Irving Studio, in co-production with The Everyman,” said company director Lizzy Cummins.

“The Owl and The Pussycat’, despite being a ‘nonsense’ poem carries a huge amount of ‘sense’ for a modern audience – in the current social landscape, acceptance, integration and inclusivity have never been more important.

“The second show, ‘Under The Greenwood Tree’, is a fresh, new literary adaptation that holds up and highlights the issue of romantic relationships, what love really means and how we relate to each other as human beings.”

The name ‘Hammerpuzzle’, explains Lizzy, comes from the desire to smash a story’s plot to pieces and then put it back together like a puzzle.

She continued: “Part of the joy of re-telling stories is that we can go where we want with it. Our work always springs from a desire to tell a particular story. We find what speaks to us about that story and use that as a focus.

“We strive for it to be forever storytelling, an act of generosity, an event that can be communally shared between all involved, performer and audience alike.

“We do of course want to do all stories justice. We want to ensure that all our adaptations hold on to the absolute essence and heart of the original tale.”

The company currently has residence at The Irving Studio Theatre at The Everyman, after first performing there in 2015.

A good relationship has since been formed between Hammerpuzzle and the theatre, and Lizzy says the studio is the perfect place for their style of show.

She said: “The studio has gone through some development in the last few years and is now a unique and intimate space. With a capacity of around 40-60 for each of our shows, the audience is close and willing to share the stories we present.

“The team at The Everyman are a passionate, welcoming and committed collection of individuals, who have really made us feel part of the building every time we are there. They have been incredibly kind and supportive of our work and we are extremely lucky to have been able to build audiences across Gloucestershire and beyond through our co-productions.”

The upcoming shows will be at The Everyman on dates throughout December.

Both productions share a cast, and Lizzy says a huge amount of work has gone into preparing the performances.

“Rehearsals have been going really well so far,” she added. “We have a wonderful team working on both shows – strong and playful performers and an imaginative and organised production team. This makes being in rehearsals a joy.

“We have a cast of three who work on both shows (Edem-Ita Duke, Ruth Page and Katy Sobey), who are then joined by another actor (Danann McAleer) for ‘Under The Greenwood Tree’.”

For more information on Hammerpuzzle and their upcoming shows visit www.hammerpuzzle.co.uk

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