The Canterbury Tales, BOVTS at Wells Little Theatre and touring

JOHN Hartoch’s adaptation of Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canter­bury Tales, for the 2019 Bristol Old Vic Theatre School summer tour, also draws its inspiration from the style of Kneehigh and some recent pick-and-mix productions.

The student company has taken 11 of the 24 original stories, and every night eight of them will be performed, at the choice of Geof­frey Chaucer, the quiet man on the pilgrimage. Kirstie Davis directs with an eye both to the youth and energy of the piece and to the eternal battle between good and evil. The 13-strong company – who we should think of as modern-day pilgrims on their way to Glaston­bury, perhaps, says Chaucer, while away the time walking from the Pilton road to their tents? It all rang very familiar to the Wells audience.

Two of the stories are sung, and all rely on versatile performances from the students, out for their first time in public  after a first year of studying at the famous theatre school. This is the chance to see what are often called “the stars of tomorrow” in the intimate surroundings of village halls and small theatres. It is always an interesting quest, and several of these young actors have the charisma, personality and skills to make it.

All they need is luck and we will look forward to seeing them over the next year, performing in various Bristol venues as their courses continue.


Photographs by Craig Fuller


The tour continues through June at Shaftesbury Arts Centre on Friday 7th,  the Princess Theatre at Burnham-on-Sea on Tuesday 11th, the Regal Theatre in Mine­head on Wednesday 12th, the Wharf Theatre in Devizes on Thursday 13th, Bridport Arts Centre on Friday 14th, Dulverton Town Hall on Saturday 15th,  the Tobacco Factory in Bristol on Tuesday 18th, The Exchange at Sturminster Newton on Thursday 20th, Wed­more Village Hall on  Friday 21st, Honiton Beehive on Saturday 22nd and  Frampton Village Hall on Saturday 29th June.  The Canterbury Tales will also be performed at the Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre on Tuesday 2nd and Wimborne Tivoli on Wednesday 3rd July.

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