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Banging the drum for Henry

“Alarums”, ‘fanfares” and “tuckets” all feature in Shakespeare’s Henry V, this year’s Castle Players’ summer production. And to create a more military atmosphere for this play about warfare the players have been turning their hands to percussion.

Regular drumming workshops have been led by Adam Heslington who has worked with Weardale-based Jack Drum Arts where he has run percussion workshops and led a samba band.

Laurence Sach, director of Henry V said, “It’s a new experience for the actors who might find themselves on-stage playing a character in one scene but part of the percussion ensemble in the next.”

Apart from adding atmosphere to the play, drumming would have played an important role in Medieval battles. Drums have been used to set the marching beat for armies as well as motivating them for thousands of years, and of course drumming continues to play an essential role in military bands.

Chris Best, who plays the leader of the French army, said, “I think we all came along to the first workshop not knowing quite what to expect, but under Adam’s guidance we’ve grown in confidence and it’s fascinating now to see how our work is being integrated into the production.”

The drummers visited the Bowes Museum recently to check out the terrain for their upcoming performances.

Henry V plays from Tuesday 5th- Saturday 9th July in the grounds of the Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle.

Tickets available online from www.castleplayers.co.uk
By phone to 01833 631107 or in person at The Witham, Barnard Castle.


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