Sidmouth hosts lost Shakespeare play

PUBLISHED: 13:37 12 June 2009 | UPDATED: 09:24 18 June 2010

Laura Hounsom  Ref: P3312-23-09TI

Laura Hounsom Ref: P3312-23-09TI

THE girl behind the direction of a lost play by Shakespeare, which will be performed in Connaught Gardens, later this month, lives in Sidmouth. Laura Pixie Hounsom, 21, is an English student at Cambridge University.

THE girl behind the direction of a lost play by Shakespeare, which will be performed in Connaught Gardens, later this month, lives in Sidmouth.

Laura 'Pixie' Hounsom, 21, is an English student at Cambridge University.

She and friend Alashiya Gordes formed t'Act alternative theatre company and, with other cast from the university, are staging Cardenio, Shakespeare's 'lost play' in an open-air production at Connaught Gardens on Saturday, June 27.

While taking a minor role in the production, Laura's main forte is as director.

"I am really into directing," she said. "That is my main focus and I am finding it comes quite naturally.

"I have done a lot of acting in the past, including professionally with the RSC when I was young."

She played Shakespeare's granddaughter Elizabeth Hall in The Herbal Bed at Covent Garden when she was about nine, and the young Madame Giry in the film Phantom of the Opera.

T'Act came together to perform a play about poet Sylvia Plath by Dr Bernard Richards, a professor of English at Oxford.

Dr Richards, who has pieced together Cardenio from fragments, saw the group's production and invited them to perform Cardenio.

"He liked our production so much he asked if we would be interested in doing this play and we produced Cardenio at Cambridge last term," said Laura, whose family home is in Water Lane, Sidmouth.

With her connections locally, Laura decided the play was worth performing to a wider audience and she will direct performances at Otterton Mill on June 20 before moving to three of Exeter's theatres - the Barnfield Theatre, on June 30, July 1 and 2; New Theatre, on July 3 and The Phoenix on July 4.

The company will also perform during Edinburgh's Fringe Festival from August 6-28.

Cardenio at Connaught Gardens is a special fundraising evening for the Buturi Water Project, which her mother, Deirdre Dee, is involved in with Tanzanian Judith Smith.

The project has currently raised enough money to provide a borehole for Judith's African village and plans to fundraise for a school building.

Deirdre said: "Deckchair seating will be available in the gardens and we are hoping people will arrive from 6pm with a picnic for the performance, which starts at 7.30pm."

There will be a bucket collection for the Buturi charity.

*Cardinio is a tragic-comedy of double falsehoods. The original manuscript was last heard of in March 1770, and is believed to have been lost in a fire at the Museum of Covent Garden in 1808.


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