Chronicles & Tales
Ellis J. Wells

Interviews - James Reynard

James Reynard
Role: Timon

Do you recall what your first ever Shakespeare role was and can you tell us your thoughts on your first performance?

Hmm... have to cast the mind back for this one! I recall a workshop on “Macbeth” at school, but I think my first professional performance was as Mercutio in “Romeo and Juliet”. I remember doing what I thought might work, but without much actual knowledge about acting! I think it was very exterior – someone in the cast said “Like a Christmas Tree, lots on the outside, but not much inside!” Anyway, I guess there was something inside as I got some very nice critiques and I learned a lot from the production (I played the same character twice more during subsequent years).

You have been incredibly prolific with Shakespeare in your career, more so than any other cast member. What draws you to Shakespeare again and again?

Read more: Interviews - James Reynard

Interviews - David Sayers

David Sayers
Role: Apemantus

What is the best Shakespeare performance you've seen?

Oh, that's a good question. The best- I don't know, I can't think of 'the best' I've seen. I can think of the ones that made the impression on me. I remember when I was at school we had a trip to the Barbican and there was a production of "the Tempest". I don't know who directed it, I don't actually know who was Prospero. But I do remember Simon Russell Beale was Ariel. A very thin Simon Russell Beale actually, so a long time ago. And Greg Hicks as Caliban. And I remember the very beginning of the play, with Simon Russell Beale standing on a chair, or some sort of platform in the middle of the stage. And there was a light-bulb hanging down. And he just knocked the light-bulb to start creating the storm. So that made an impression on me. In terms of other Shakespeare, I suppose it's been more film. I admire the (Kenneth) Branagh films, especially "Hamlet" because most Shakespeare is cut and Branagh decided not to cut it, and it looks gorgeous. And I've always quite liked Mel Gibson's "Hamlet" (directed by Franco Zeffirelli), and the fact Zeffierelli cast him AFTER watching "Lethal Weapon" (1987) is even better.

Did you have any experience with "Timon of Athens" before this production?

Read more: Interviews - David Sayers

Interviews - Sarah Whitehouse

Sarah Whitehouse
Role: Praxilla of Sicyon

What's the best Shakespeare production you've ever seen?

While I was at school, I saw a production of "Hamlet" at the Birmingham Rep. It was just really cleverly staged, with lights coming up through the floor instead of walls, so the ghost literally walked through the walls of the castle, which was really exciting. I was doing my A-levels and studying the play at the time, and I had no idea that that sort of surprise was coming. It made me realise how amazing and magical theatre could be, and set me on this road to a love of Shakespeare.

You're one of the only cast members who's done Shakespeare on film before. How does acting Shakespeare on stage differ to what we have to do on film?

Read more: Interviews - Sarah Whitehouse

Heidi Mumford-Yeo - Cannes Film Festival 2019

Palais des Festivals, Cannes, France
Festival date: 14–25 May 2019
Heidi Mumford-Yeo
Role: Phrynia

Hello Heidi. Lovely to chat with you today.  Of course, you play Phrynia in Misanthropos, but today we are discussing your prolific attendance at the Cannes Film Festival in recent years. To start it off: when did you first attend Cannes and how many times have you been in total?

Hi Ellis, I first went to Cannes in 2015, so this will be my third year; very excited!

Cards on the table I've never been to Cannes, so it's all a mystery to me.  Can you describe it?  The atmosphere, the ceremony (by which I mean the 'pomp and spectacle' of the festival and how one behaves, etc.).

I mean, it’s as you would imagine I think, but actually being there, surrounded by so many incredible people, people you respect and look up to – that’s, for me, what makes it such a privilege to attend. My first time was a little nerve-wracking but I think that’s part of the experience. Quite surreal at times, when you find yourself next to Adrian Brody with the inner voice ‘act normal’ screaming at you!

You will also be going again this year, I believe, which I'm very jealous about by the way.  Can you tell us about the film you are there promoting?

Read more: Heidi Mumford-Yeo - Cannes Film Festival 2019