Yesterday me and Phil Regan from North Wilts Theatre went hunting for castles.
The reason we went hunting for castles is because almost two years ago now Phil and I had a brief semi-drunken conversation in a pub in Chippenham about staging Macbeth in an old decrepit Welsh castle, and two years on it's seeds have began to be sowed.
Phil runs North Wilts Theatre which has numerous successful Shakespeare productions under it's hat, including outdoor productions, and main stage guff, he is the Shakespert* in this relationship.
We had four castles on our list: Usk Castle, Raglan Castle, Abergavenny Castle and White Castle.
It was a cold morning roaming around winding roads, building up a certain amount of anticipation before arriving at each castle. Phil at the wheel, half focused on the road, half focused on telling me the delicate plot lines and dramatic reveals of The Scottish Play. With each turn of the road, we eagerly lean forward and wait for the crumbling tip of an old ruin to emerge from behind the green hill of the valley, each time it happens to no reveal we patiently lean back and await the next turn in the road that may reveal it.
This was our pattern for much of the day, and to say it revealed a lot to me about Welsh cultural heritage would be an understatement. To be completely honest, I wasn't interested in when the castle was built and by which King for what reason, or who invaded who, when, where or why. I was just fascinated by massiveness of it all. The back breaking (possibly death inducing) labour, the ghosts of people roaming this ancient ruins, the fact that peoples hands had placed these stones their bit by bit.
I loved it.
First stop Usk:
|The entrance, hidden away and shrouded. Found by ambling up vein like paths.|
|Greeted by an old greying hound.|
|I didn't realise this crappy focus thing was on my camera settings. Bit gutted to be honest.|
|A nook for the witches.|
|Phil made me take this one because of Macbeth Bird Theology.|
Second stop Raglan:
|A hole in the sky.|
|The dungeons of Raglan. Phil trapped.|
|A playing space.|
Stop 3 was Abergavenny. By the time we'd gotten here my camera had died, so the next couple of images are courtesy of Google.
We didn't like Abergavenny castle much, not for what we wanted to do anyway, we're castleist. We admired it's rubble, but it didn't float our bubble... Sort of...
Stop 4 was White Castle, tucked away in the Welsh country side this lesser known castle is awesome! An amazing, amphitheatre type structure in a very rural location, which may result a negative, but we can dare to find out.
We've narrowed it down (for now) to White Castle and Raglan.
We've already received a possitive response towards using Raglan, we're awaiting to hear about White Castle (our secret favourite), from CADW.
So North Wilts Theatre Co. in association with Tin Shed Theatre Co. (with the help of a lot of friends) hope to be able to offer you an outdoor Macbeth Shakesperience*** Summer 2014.
**That's a word I made up for when you make up a word that makes it into the Dictionary
*** The merging of the words Shakespeare and Experience... I'm pretty sure if this has never been used before I'm a ruddy genius... Just in case... Shakesperience©