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Shakespeare in the Squares' Romeo and Juliet

20th Sep 2017

Domus Nova Blog Image

After the roaring success of the inaugural Much Ado About Nothing last summer, we could not have been more thrilled to sponsor Shakespeare in the Squares for a second time around. This year’s series introduced Romeo and Juliet, the infamous love story, performed in an entirely unique rendition set in 1950s Italy.

“We tend to assume comedies play best in the lovely summer surroundings, but the idea of community is a strong one in Romeo and Juliet, and the first half, at least, is extremely funny, youthful and exuberant.” – Sue Fletcher, Co-producer

“A production like this has so many moving parts and I love watching all the complex elements that so many people have worked on – the performances, the design, the stage management, the choreography and composition - come together. Sue and Martin have done a wonderful job creating a company with joy, generosity and tenacity at its heart and it’s been a pleasure to be a part of it.” – Tatty Hennessy, Director

“Having Dame Judi as Patron has given us authority as a serious professional company, albeit a new one.” – Sue

“One of the highlights was at the dress rehearsal, when I was suddenly aware that all the builders on a site outside the square had stopped work and were standing on the scaffolding watching the show.” – Martin Neild, Co-producer

Throughout its three-week run, this series of Shakespeare in the Squares blew us away with an electric energy like no other. Commenting on working with the cast, Tatty told us, “They were an absolute joy. From the first day of rehearsals we all felt like a team and by the end we felt like family. Not only were they all sickeningly talented on stage, but the camaraderie and mutual support offstage, their commitment to the project and infectious sense of fun made the challenges of this project so much easier to face. I am very smug about the casting!”
Just as this dynamic interpretation of the play brought something new to the crowds and communities of west London, so did we want to bring a fresh take on the Domus Bar. Drawing upon the relationships we’ve developed with several of the area’s architects, we saw the evolution of the Bar as an exciting project to once again collaborate on. Enter Tigg + Coll Architects with their eye-catching design for ‘Capulets Orchard’! This bar delivered thoughtful design, pairing lighter materials with darker ones to evoke a masculine / feminine juxtaposition in keeping with the play’s star-crossed lovers; the arches and stairs spoke to the architecture of 1950s Italy.

“The starting point for the design of the bar takes its cue from one of the most infamous scenes in Shakespeare’s works. Capulet’s Orchard places Act 2, Scene 2 of Romeo and Juliet within one of the most iconic and recognised set formats in cultural history. Theatre set design seemed like the logical lens through which to approach the concept for this bar, however, putting an architectural spin on this was very important to us. It had to showcase craftsmanship and elegance too.” – David Coll, Tigg + Coll Architects

“Capulet’s Orchard absolutely chimed with our design ethos: simple, stylish, clever and fun.” – Martin

“The bar was a really great addition to the experience! I remember all of us watching it being constructed for the first time with great curiosity, and then the finished bar was so unique and elegant. And it was really lovely that the same bar team were at many of the shows so we got to know them.” – Tatty

We knew at once that THIS was the bar from which we would serve the ontheme Milanese gin and tonic cocktails (thanks for the recipe Campari!). The vision for our Capulet’s Orchard bar was realised by Stella Rossa Contractors, who did a fantastic job of ensuring the structure could survive the sometimes-unpredictable phenomena of each garden square – all very much in keeping with the nature of the series. In fact, there’s something about the capriciousness of a touring outdoor theatre that brings an added dynamic to the dramatics of the whole thing!

“There was a wonderful comic moment during the scene where the Nurse discovers Juliet’s body, and cries out “she’s dead, she’s dead!” A public-spirited passerby looked into the garden and shouted, “Should I fetch the police?”” – Sue

Another summer; another successful Shakespeare in the Squares. Quite simply, the players played (brilliantly), the watchers watched and the drinks were drunk. For us, it feels almost as though we built our very own Serpentine pavilion… seven
times over! What a fantastic opportunity to have come together with so many lovely communities to share this one-of-a-kind experience.

Shakespeare in the Squares:
Twitter: @shakessquares

Tigg + Coll Architects:
Twitter: @tiggcollarch
Instagram: @tigg_coll_architects

Stella Rossa Contractors: