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There's a riot going on

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: March 28, 2013

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  • Drama students from St Austell College will take part in the community production. Below, Mike Hackney and Andy Ward, both directors of Restormel Arts.

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ST AUSTELL'S huge community play – to be staged in July – has taken a further step forward.

Ollie Oakenshield, a well-known figure on the Cornish theatre scene, has been appointed as production manager for As Well Be Shot As Be Starved by Restormel Arts.

Ollie has worked with Miracle Theatre and Eden's Theatre team and in 2004 founded Rogue Theatre, a company that has grown in stature and popularity under his vast experience.

He has close ties with Port Eliot Festival and has also worked on other community projects, including last year's Town To Tide.

Ollie said: "'I am delighted to be working as part of an exciting team on this rich Cornish cultural project."

Another exciting addition is Alan Munden, collaborator on set design and build.

Alan has worked on innovative design for a raft of companies and projects, including English Touring Opera, Duchy Opera, Miracle Theatre, Cube Theatre, Eden Project and large scale community events.

He added: "I'm really pleased to be involved with the project. Towns and communities discovering their past and retelling those stories is always an exciting prospect as is meeting new cast and crew. Bring it on!"

If that wasn't enough, Ben Sutcliffe of Cornwall's popular People's String Foundation, has been announced as the show's musical director.

As Well Be Shot As Be Starved, based on the true events of the Bread Riots of 1847, will be performed in the cellars of St Austell Brewery.

It has been written by Miracle Theatre founder Bill Scott and will be the highlight of the town's Feast Week from Friday, July 5 to Saturday, July 13.

The play, peppered with Bill's unique mix of drama and comedy, is directed by Liam Hurley, who has been behind community plays across the country, with assistant director Sharon Andrew, of Cornwall's Scary Little Girls.

On July 6 there will be a re-enactment of the riot, with a parade, marching bands and more converging on Market House, which was the town hall at the time of the events. The day will also see a theatrical Victorian market in the town.

The riots were effectively started by the women in the community whose husbands worked for the china clay industry and were so poor they couldn't even afford bread.

Annoyed that workers in similar industries, such as tin mining, were paid much more, together with the potato famine of the time, the enraged women encouraged their husbands to riot.

For more details see www.breadriots.com and to take part in any aspect of the play, contact production manager Sheila Vanloo – sheilavanloo@gmail.com

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