Shakespeare and ‘a bunch of amateurs’ at the Civic

A SHAKESPEAREAN tale with a twist — from the quill of master satirist Ian Hislop — is bringing a splash of comedy to the Civic this week.

Hislop worked with fellow humourist Nick Newman on A Bunch of Amateurs, which runs until Friday in the capable hands of Rotherham Rep.

The show started life as a screenplay for a 2008 film starring Burt Reynolds and Imelda Staunton and was even put on for the Queen at the Royal Film Performance, prompting the late monarch to request a second screening of it at Christmas.

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Several Rep regulars are taking to the stage for the four-night run.

Directed by The Rep’s dramatic director Richard Wilshaw, A Bunch of Amateurs tells the story of fading Hollywood action hero Jefferson Steel who, keen to boost his waning career, arrives in England to play King Lear at Stratford.

However, this Stratford is not on the River Avon and neither is it Shakespeare’s birthplace —it is a quiet village in Suffolk.

Instead of professional famous names, the cast are literally a bunch of amateurs who are trying to save their theatre from being lost to developers.

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These enthusiastic am-dram thespians test Jefferson's monstrous ego, vanity and insecurity to the limit as the actors rehearse for what could potentially be their final performance at the theatre.

Tickets are priced at £9 (£7 for concessions) and available on 01709 823621 or from

Submitted: A sword fight rehearsal between Hollywood star Jefferson Steel (Danny Stewart) and a Stratford dramatic player Nigel Dewbury (Mark Hone).

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