A theatre company run by war veterans charity Stoll has partnered with the Royal Shakespeare Company Open Stages Programme.
The Combat Veteran Players (CVP), which is made up of war veterans-turned-actors who are overcoming mental trauma, will receive acting workshops and stage combat training as it plans to stage Henry V next autumn.
CVP has also agreed a three-year residency with the Old Vic Tunnels theatre in London following a well-received performance of Midsummer Night’s Dream in March. The company now plans a further performance of the Shakespeare play in July.
Ed Tytherleigh, chief executive of Stoll said: “The benefits of taking part in the group have been clear and I am delighted that the partnerships with The Old Vic Tunnels – giving the company a ‘home’ – and the RSC Open Stage – giving them coaching – will help the actors to move onto the next level.”
Stoll started planning the project in 2009 and the first rehearsals took place at the end of 2010. July’s performances of the Midsummer Night’s Dream will be the first that the organisation plans to sell tickets to. Previous performances have been for friends and family only.
Hamish Jenkinson, director of the Old Vic Tunnels, said: “I watched these guys perform and knew they were something special, that I wanted The Old Vic Tunnels to be part of their continuing development. I am delighted to be able to give the Combat Veteran Players a long-term venue for their performances. Their first performance to friends, families and supporters was exhilarating and moving and I have no doubt their second, to the general public, will be just the same.”
The majority of money raised through ticket sales will back to supporting the project and £1 will go to the theatre’s restoration fund.
The RSC Open Stages programme is supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and aims to bring amateur and professional actors together and currently has 10 partner theatres around the UK.