Local Theatres to Collaborate on Bringing Noted Comic Trilogy to Vermont
Dorset Theatre Festival, Northern Stage and Weston Playhouse Theatre Company are creating an historic partnership to bring British playwright Alan Ayckbourn’s celebrated comic trilogy, ‘The Norman Conquests,’ to their stages in the spring and summer of 2016. More than a year in the planning, the collaboration has three nationally-prominent directors working with the same cast and creative team on successive productions of the three plays in White River Junction, Dorset and Weston.
Artistic Directors Dina Janis (Dorset), Carol Dunne (Northern Stage) and Steve Stettler (Weston) have been sharing artists, goods and ideas for several years while searching for a way to work together more closely. Janis proposed ‘The Norman Conquests’ and got an immediate “yes” from the others, who share her love of Ayckbourn and agreed that the chance to produce three inter-related plays was a perfect opportunity for a deeper partnership.
The trilogy follows the amorous weekend exploits of assistant librarian Norman at an English country house. The cast of six become enmeshed in an ingenious Chinese puzzle of relationships that can be enjoyed individually and/or collectively.
Northern Stage will produce the first of the three comedies, ‘Living Together,’ under the direction of Peter Hackett at the company’s new Barrette Center for the Arts, April 20 to May 8. Dorset will follow with ‘Table Manners,’ directed by Evan Yionoulis, running June 16 to July 2. Weston will conclude the series with ‘Round and Round the Garden,’ directed by Michael Berresse, playing July 21 to 30. The design team includes David Arsenault (set), Stuart Duke (lighting), Charles Schoonmaker (costumes), and Jane Shaw (sound). The cast features Richard Gallagher as Norman, Caitlin Clouthier as Sarah, Ashton Heyl as Ruth, Mark Light-Orr as Reg, Jenni Putney as Annie, and Dave Mason as Tom. Danielle Zandri is production stage manager.
Audiences are encouraged to travel from theatre to theatre to view the entire trilogy and to take advantage of various incentives and opportunities including but not limited to local dining options, artist panels and ticketing collaborations. ‘The Norman Conquests’ has media sponsorship from Vermont Public Radio, and is the first step in an ongoing program to pool resources and share work with a wider audience. The three theatres have already begun to talk about coordinating a regional festival of new work. For more information about the three companies, visit their websites at dorsettheatrefestival.org, northernstage.org and westonplayhouse.org.