St Albans radio presenter debuts on stage in open-air Shakespeare production

PUBLISHED: 14:19 14 June 2018 | UPDATED: 14:19 14 June 2018

Rehearsals for Breakaway Theatre Company's performance of The Taming of the Shrew. Picture: Clare Waller

Rehearsals for Breakaway Theatre Company's performance of The Taming of the Shrew. Picture: Clare Waller

Archant

A long-standing local radio personality will take to the stage for his debut theatre performance this summer.

Rehearsals for Breakaway Theatre Company's performance of The Taming of the Shrew. Picture: Clare WallerRehearsals for Breakaway Theatre Company's performance of The Taming of the Shrew. Picture: Clare Waller

Radio Verulam presenter Danny Smith will perform alongside experienced amateur actors in the fifth annual open-air Shakespeare production by the Breakaway Theatre Company.

He will be Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew - the romantic lead with the greatest proportion of lines.

Danny, who has presented West Herts Drivetime for eight years, said: “I am looking forward to it as much as I am dreading it being my first ever adult production. I have never done anything like this before - as a kid I did some drama at my church, and school at GCSE, but that was the extent of my experience and that was 25 years ago.

“Breakaway have been absolutely lovely though, they have encouraged me every step of the way and held my hand, guiding me in what needs to be done - that is all the cast, not just the director.”

Rehearsals for Breakaway Theatre Company's performance of The Taming of the Shrew. Picture: Clare WallerRehearsals for Breakaway Theatre Company's performance of The Taming of the Shrew. Picture: Clare Waller

He particularly thanked female lead Susie Wyeth for her support and encouragement.

Director Clare Waller said: “Danny is doing really well, he was a bit worried about learning his lines but he seems to have most of them now.

“When we first rang to tell him he was Petruchio he replied, ‘Who’s that?’”.

She said Petruchio was perfect for Danny because he has a great stage presence which clicked nicely with Susie’s style.

Rehearsals for Breakaway Theatre Company's performance of The Taming of the Shrew. Picture: Clare WallerRehearsals for Breakaway Theatre Company's performance of The Taming of the Shrew. Picture: Clare Waller

“There will be nerves and that is normal, but he should just try to use those in a positive way to create energy for the character.

“Believe in himself - we all think he can do it so he needs to too.”

The play has been remastered for the 21st Century, for example incorporating lesbian characters.

Clare, who also directed Breakaway’s performance of Twelfth Night in 2015, said: “The Taming of the Shrew is a play that I have seen done a few times and it can be a bit controversial because it can be seen as misogynistic, so I thought it would be good to look at how it can be relevant to today - rather than Shakespearean times.”

The 13-strong cast have been rehearsing since March for the performances, which will take place from June 28 to 30 and from July 5 to 7 at Verulamium’s Inn On The Park.

Tickets are £15 for adults, £13 for concessions and £11 for under 16s from www.ticketsource.co.uk/breakawaytheatrecompany

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