Students Staff

20 July 2012

Lakeside Theatre helps house commission new theatre work

The Lakeside Theatre based at the University of Essex was part of the commissioning group which decided which theatre company should receive the new £35,000 Contemporary Classic Theatre Commission delivered by house – a new programme supported by Arts Council England.
Theatre company Transport were selected from more than 140 applications and a competitive shortlist of five other companies.

A new adaptation of the classic William Shakespeare play As You Like It will now be created by Transport to tour nationally and internationally from autumn 2013.

Alongside the Lakeside Theatre on the commissioning group were other leading venues in the south England including Canterbury Gulbenkian, Hertford Theatre, Andover The Lights, Didcot Cornerstone and Portsmouth New Theatre Royal.

As a co-commissioner the Lakeside Theatre will be supporting the future development of the new show.

Lakeside artistic director Tid (Iain Tidbury) said: “This is the first time we have been involved in a project of this kind and part of our mission is to present innovative contemporary theatre on a regional, national and international platform. Connecting with organisations like house and the other co-commissioning venues helps us to be an active part of the national arts scene while also adding to the bubbling arts scene of Colchester.”

“Hopefully, we will be able to develop a close relationship with Transport and there is the potential for them to come to the Lakeside to do some development work for the show. There might also be the opportunity for them to engage with our students.”

house is designed to support venues to increase audiences and improve the range, quality and scale of theatre presented across South East and Eastern England.

Transport is an international arts company based on the south-east coast of England that exists to make work that celebrates the diversity of the human experience, engages the imagination and promotes new forms and collaborations. The company is headed by theatre director Douglas Rintoul and producer Emma Cameron.

Transport has researched widely experiences of exile and shifting notions of identity by working closely with asylum seekers and migrants from India, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

By underpinning Shakespeare's text with these references they hope not only to offer an immediate and clear understanding of this classic text, by making it feel immediate and of the 21st Century, but also offer audiences new perspectives on our own society, the wider world and Shakespeare.

house programme manager Mark Makin said: “The house commissioning group set out to find a group of artists who would bring something exciting to the table in creating a new piece of classic contemporary theatre that will tour not only in the house regions of the South East and Eastern England but also Nationally and Internationally.

“We’re delighted that Transport have taken up this challenge with their interpretation of Shakespeare’s As You Like It. With over 145 proposals we have been heartened at the level of ambition and appetite within the theatre community to make a new piece of work for this genre.”

The Classic Contemporary Theatre Commission was designed to create and tour a new piece of contemporary classic theatre to new and established theatre audiences, initially across the South East and Eastern regions. The commission was open to everyone, from individual artists, to new collaborators, through to established companies and makers new to creating theatre work of this genre.


Notes to editors:

For more information about the Lakeside Theatre at the University of Essex please contact the Communications Office at 01206 874377.

For further information about the Contemporary Classic Theatre Commission, including images and interview opportunities, please contact Katie Williams on 01252 745 424 or via

For more information on Transport visit
The five commission finalists were; Transport, Box Clever, Caroline Horton, Company Boudin and Uninvited Guests and Fuel.

The house commissioning group was made up with representatives from the following venues: Canterbury Gulbenkian, Colchester Lakeside, Hertford Theatre, Andover The Lights, Didcot Cornerstone and Portsmouth New Theatre Royal.

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