Fringe Box



Romeo & Juliet Production to Raise Awareness of the Facts Around Knife Crime

Published on: 21 Jun, 2024
Updated on: 22 Jun, 2024

By Alice Fowler

Guildford Shakespeare Company has begun its production of Romeo & Juliet, which is taking place on the streets of Guildford.

Guildford Shakespeare Company’s cast for its production of Romeo & Juliet.

April Hughes plays Juliet, following her recent portrayal of Lizzie Bennet in GSC’s acclaimed Pride & Prejudice in January. Christian James, making his debut with GSC, plays Romeo.

Other GSC favourites return, including Daniel Burke – who played the title role last in last year’s Richard II – as Mercutio and Lord Montague, and David Carr (who starred in GSC’s 2014 Othello) as Friar Laurence. Luke Latchman, Laura Matthews, Chris Porter and Emma Manton also return to the GSC stage.

Adapted by GSC co-founders Sarah Gobran and Matt Pinches, with Pinches as director, this new production of Shakespeare’s famous love story brings passion and tragedy to the heart of the town.

Audiences follow the action through Guildford’s streets, taking in Holy Trinity Church, Abbot’s Hospital, the Tunsgate Quarter, the Guildhall balcony and ending in the Castle Grounds.

This, and he following pictures, show the cast in rehearsal for Romeo & Juliet, taken by Mark Dean for the Guildford Shakespeare Company.

The professional cast is joined by a community ensemble of adults and young people from four local schools and GSC’s own drama groups.

Though more than 400 years old, Shakespeare’s tragedy is as relevant as ever – hate is spoken of in equal measure with love, and that, coupled with violence, leads to the play’s heartbreaking conclusion.

To raise awareness of the facts around knife crime, and how we can all play a part in preventing it, GSC is teaming up with the University of Surrey, PubWatch, Street Angels and campaign charity Charlie’s Promise for a Knife Crime Awareness event at Guildford Cathedral on the evening of Wednesday July 3.

At the centre of the  event is a talk by Martin Cosser, chief officer and founder of the charity Charlie’s Promise.

Mr Cosser is the father of Charlie, who was stabbed and killed at the age of 17 at a house party in Surrey in 2023.

Mr Cosser has made it his life’s work to raise awareness of knife crime and the immeasurable damage it brings. Charlie’s Promise is dedicated to helping the fight against the rising issue of knife crime in Surrey and across the UK. Donations received for this event will go to Charlie’s Promise.

Opening the evening, GSC’s Saturday drama group (aged 12 to 18) will create a piece of Forum Theatre based on a key knife attack scene from Romeo & Juliet. This will be followed by a performance by students from the University of Surrey, with talks from PubWatch, Street Angels and Experience Guildford.

In addition to this focus evening, GSC is visiting schools who are part of Romeo & Juliet with knife crime awareness workshops, in partnership with the Kiyan Prince Foundation.

This and he following pictures show the cast in rehearsal taken by Mike Dean for Guildford Shakespeare Company.

Sarah Gobran, co-founder of GSC, said: “From our extensive outreach work we know that theatre can be a powerful vehicle for change. We wanted our production of Romeo & Juliet to have a legacy for our community beyond the performances, and we’re looking forward to working alongside these inspirational partners to create this important event.”

Dr Katy Peters, solicitor and senior lecturer at the University of Surrey, said: “We are delighted to be able to participate in this important event, in collaboration with such inspirational partners.

“The theatre of a courtroom creates an innovative teaching space. The scenarios explored in our Knife Angel-inspired workshops offer a powerful illustration of the catastrophic impact which violent and thoughtless decisions can have on both the victims of crime, and those whose actions cause harm, injury and death.”

This and he following pictures show the cast in rehearsal taken by Mike Dean for Guildford Shakespeare Company.

Nicola Pratt, head of development at Guildford Cathedral, said: “After hosting the Knife Angel during March 2023, it is great to be working back with some of our partners again. The event by Guildford Shakespeare Company enables important resources and messages to be heard once again about the impact of violence and aggression in our communities.”

Romeo and Juliet runs from June 21 to July 13.

For more information and to book tickets, see

The Knife Crime Awareness evening takes place at the Cathedral on July 3.

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Responses to Romeo & Juliet Production to Raise Awareness of the Facts Around Knife Crime

  1. Olly Azad Reply

    June 23, 2024 at 2:35 pm

    I was reading recently that to watch a production of your favourite musical such as Romeo and Juliet would cost £298 in the West End (Research by The Stage). Talk about super inflated prices and furthermore nothing was mentioned about knife crime, especially when you think how prevalent the issue of carrying a bladed article in London has become in recent years.

    Kudos to the Guildford Shakespeare Company, the charity Charlie’s Promise and all the other participants involved for taking this initiative to address the concerns of knife crime and to better inform the public about it.

    A standard ticket price in Guildford for the same performance would cost less than £30 as opposed to £298 in London.

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