If you have been avidly reading my blog since October last year, you should by now have heard of the wonderful theatre company that is Scena Mundi.
I first saw them very nearly a year ago (thanks to the Theatre Tourist), in their production of Marlowe’s Edward II at St Bart’s (this made it into my top shows of 2015, if you recall). I sadly missed their Richard II, which is a shame on so many levels – it’s become one of my favourite Shakespeare histories. But it was their production of Jonson’s Volpone last autumn that really gave me the Scena Mundi bug!
Their 1920s caper around Venice was another theatre highlight of last year, and also the first Ben Jonson play I’d ever seen. I ended up seeing it three times in total – I could easily have gone more, if I’d had the time! I can still picture Edward Fisher’s Sir Politic scuttling away under a giant tortoise shell…
And then, after a break of five months, came the big one: Twelfth Night. Quite possibly my favourite Shakespeare play. One of the funniest Shakespearean productions I’ve seen – and definitely a highlight of all the shows I’ve seen so far this year. I had high hopes from the casting news & the launch, which were more than surpassed by the time my first visit came round. Five times for this one in the end. Again, this really was not enough!
My predominant memories are of the Toby Belch/Andrew Aguecheek double act (Jack Christie & Tom Winsor), especially their attempts at disguise – and the hilarious Martin Prest playing Malvolio. I will never forget those yellow stockings! After Martin’s brilliant turn as Corvino in Volpone, and seeing his one-man version of A Christmas Carol in the winter, I was convinced he was the only man for this role – it couldn’t have worked out more perfectly.
There had been plans to continue the Shakespeare 400 celebrations this spring with a production of Othello, but this sadly hasn’t been able to happen.
So why am I talking to you about this now? Scena Mundi are running another crowdfunding campaign to help with their forthcoming autumn season.
The team is hoping to put together a pair of productions; any money they raise is essential for the development phase, and any day-to-day costs they may encounter. Scena Mundi have not yet got Arts Council funding, so it is vital that they find their income elsewhere. Their previous campaign was phenomenally successful and enabled Twelfth Night to go ahead to great acclaim.
There are some lovely incentives on offer, if you add certain sums of money to the pot. I, for one, really wish I could get hold of a grand so I could have my own private performance of their four-man Twelfth Night…
This company has become pretty important to me in a very short space of time. They consistently showcase some of the brightest talent, with a core set of cast & creatives who are generally involved. Thanks to them, I am continuing to broaden my theatre experiences – from the classics to new writing. Regular company member Pip Brignall is one of the artistic directors of Tangled Thread Theatre, whose play After The Heat We Battle For The Heart ran at this year’s VAULT Festival. If it hadn’t been for Scena Mundi I would probably not have had the chance to see this astounding production.
What are you waiting for?
If you can help in any way it would mean a lot to Scena Mundi & their followers. It can be via their crowdfund, hiring them for an event, suggesting helpful contacts… You can get in touch with them via firstname.lastname@example.org
And don’t forget to spread the word!