Shanaya Rafaat, who plays Regan in our touring production of King Lear, just had time to pause briefly and write us this lovely blog post about her time on tour so far before setting off again – this time to perform in the historic and beautiful city of Cambridge.

“I’ve just got home from the Ripon/Penrith leg of the tour. Both places have been fab – lovely venues, fantastic digs (we actually stayed in a woodland shack in Ripon) and so much countryside!

I think one of the best things about this tour is that besides visiting the beautiful, more popular tourist destinations like Istanbul and St. Lucia, I’ve had a chance to see more of the UK and visit places both here and abroad that I may not normally have done like the camp site at Ripon, the replica German Globe theatre in Neuss, beaches in Margate and Worthing and the definitive Adana kebab restaurant in Turkey.

I have to admit it’s been a bit crazy and exhausting traveling continuously for the last couple of months and sometimes the places blur a bit into one and I have to look through my photographs to remind myself exactly where I’ve been, but at the same time it’s such a wonderful feeling to be a part of a troupe of traveling players. We go from place to place and set up our stage wherever they’ll let us – outside a castle, a stately home, a graveyard, a college campus, a school, sometimes an actual theatre. We meet the new audiences, do the show and then on to the next place. I think what surprised me the most is that after fifty performances we’re not bored of doing the show and that it does feel quite different and new in each venue. It also helps that the company get along so well, it feels like a family.

Cast performing in Brighton

Cast performing together in Brighton

I don’t think I have a favourite venue but I like the outdoor shows more because I find them more challenging and though you can feel like you’re losing some of the subtlety of the show, you’re forced to find a new performance vocabulary and a more encompassing technique. Also being outdoors feeds so much into the landscape of the play and that, along with creating all the music and sound effects ourselves, brings you so much closer to how it was originally performed and experienced. One of my favourite bits is standing behind the thundersheet, gently rattling away under the action at the end of part one, and I look up and all I can see is sky.”

Catch Shanaya and the rest of the King Lear cast for their last UK tour leg at the idyllic outdoor Masters Garden, Corpus Christi College in Cambridge from 17 – 27 July. Book your tickets here.

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find out more

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