Trans poet Reece Lyons will play one of Shakespeare’s leading ladies in a visually enthralling performance staged in the gardens of Shakespeare’s New Place in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Poet and artist Reece Lyons, a finalist of the Roundhouse 2018 Poetry Slam with her poem ‘I am a Woman and I have a Penis’, will perform the role of a cross-dressing Rosalind from Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’ as part of all-female acrobatic theatre group Mimbre’s latest tour ‘Fierce Sisters’.
From 11–15 December, ‘Fierce Sisters’ will feature breathtaking acrobatics, slam poetry and evocative choreography all intertwined to explore the essence of Shakespeare’s female characters.
Speaking to QWEERIST, Reece Lyons said: “It has been an amazing experience working with Mimbre alongside an all female-led cast and company, and to be a trans woman who’s lived experience is being valued, listened to and whose artistry is being platformed.
It highlights how important it is to have a diverse group of people working on a project because it means that throughout the process everyone can view what we are creating from different perspectives and make suggestions that push the piece further.
“I’ve loved re-adapting Rosalind from ‘As You Like It’ into the modern day too, and I’m excited to share it with an audience soon,” she added.
‘Fierce Sisters’ will see audiences led through the gardens to startling scenes of ambition, strength and passion, each inspired by Shakespeare’s work. Playful interactive stations invite audiences to explore these themes and contribute their thoughts and feelings on how women are interpreted and portrayed, then and now.
Lina Johansson, artistic director at Mimbre, said: “We are thrilled to be back in Stratford-upon-Avon this winter with another playful take on Shakespeare.
Shakespeare’s women get nowhere near enough space in the plays; female representation accounts for less than 16% of the characters and only 17% of the speeches, so with ‘Fierce Sisters’ we want to push the boundaries to reclaim a bit of space.
“I am really excited about this performance not only as a celebration of some of Shakespeare’s strongest women, but also as an invitation to ignite conversations between generations,” Johansson added.
‘Fierce Sisters’ is commissioned by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and supported using public funding by Arts Council England. ‘Fierce Sisters’ is the Trust’s third winter production since New Place re-opened in 2016.