The debut production of a brand-new local theatre company, Laughing Tree Theatre, is due to be performed at Peterborough Cathedral this September. The company, specialising in fast-paced comedy and pop-up theatre, is set to stage an abridged version of Doctor Faustus, which tells the story of an arrogant scholar who thinks he’s learned everything the world has to offer, so sells his soul to Lucifer in exchange for the gift of magic. Despite then becoming the most renowned sorcerer in Europe and meeting legendary heroes such as Helen of Troy, he soon comes to regret his deal with the Devil.
“We’ve stripped it right back,” says the production’s director, Ellen Fraser. “We’re using a tiny cast and very little in the way of set. We’ve got a truly incredible setting at Peterborough Cathedral, so we really wanted to show off the Cathedral as a backdrop. I’m loving working with Steph, our Artistic Director, on this production, because her doctorate was in early modern theatre like Marlowe and Shakespeare, so she really knows what she’s talking about.”
The Laughing Tree Theatre were originally due to debut with a comedic two-hander, The Secret Lives of Henry and Alice by David Tristram in October of last year, but the production had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
“It’s been a trial, getting a new company established while we’ve not been able to meet properly!” says Stephanie Collins, Laughing Tree’s Artistic Director. “We’ve focused a lot on online community theatre while restrictions have been in place. We’ve held monthly play readings that anyone can join and get involved in, and we’ve worked with local amateur and professional actors to produce short scenes from Shakespeare and other classic works.”
One of Laughing Tree’s primary aims is producing accessible theatre for all types of audience through productions and workshops on performance, public speaking and early modern drama. This production of Doctor Faustus will emphasise the play’s dark humour and beautiful language, and will only last about an hour and a half.
Doctor Faustus will take place at 18:30 on 17 and 18 September 2021 at Peterborough Cathedral. The production will be in the open air, and audiences are asked to bring their own chairs. Tickets are £10 and can be bought at buytickets.at/laughingtreetheatre. Please visit the Cathedral’s website at peterborough-cathedral.org.uk/live-in-the-cloisters.aspx for more information, or join Laughing Tree Theatre on Facebook @laughingtreetheatre