A new Richmondshire theatre company is making its debut at Richmond‘s Georgian Theatre Royal later this month with a stage adaptation of Daniel Defoe’s classic tale Robinson Crusoe.
Crusoe’s Island is a specially written one-man show that tells the familiar story of shipwreck, solitude and salvation through the eyes of Crusoe himself as an old man looking back on his adventures.
It opens at the Georgian Theatre Royal on Thursday 19 and Friday 20 September and then tours the region.
It is exactly 300 years since Defoe’s novel was first published with its full title of The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe of York, Mariner and since then the story of Yorkshire’s most famous castaway has become one of the most widely published books in history with over 700 different versions and imitations, including the popular children’s book Swiss Family Robinson.
The production is the first from newly-formed Fell-Foss Theatre – the brainchild of Colin Bailey administrator at North Country Theatre from 2012 and former North Country Theatre actor Mark Cronfield.
Supported by an Arts Council Grant, they aim to continue the tradition of North Country Theatre by bringing original, high-quality drama to the North of England, particularly to rural communities and small alternative venues.
“It is very exciting to be embarking on this new venture and to keep the artistic flame burning within the Yorkshire Dales, said Mark Cronfield, who appeared in North Country Theatre productions from 2003 until their last performance of Nightmares in Norfolk in 2017.
“Creativity lives wherever the rehearsal room is – be it a small village hall or a large London venue and over the years this has been proved many times over. There is exceptional talent in the area and very appreciative audiences out there to enjoy it.”
Crusoe’s Island was inspired by the late Elizabeth Bishop’s poem Crusoe in England, which places Defoe’s hero back in his native land reviewing his past. It is wistful and reflective and looks at the differences between England and the island world that Crusoe had to create from his imagination.
“This is a theme that we explore in Crusoe’s Island,” said Mark Cronfield.
“In some ways the original work is indicative of a society that was becoming more outward looking – the Acts of Union had only just been passed to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland – than the one we find ourselves grappling with today against a climate of Brexit negotiations and a rise of anti-immigration demonstrations.
“There are some very interesting parallels to be drawn and the 300th anniversary of the novel’s publication is an excellent time to re-visit this fascinating story.”
Tickets for Crusoe’s Island cost from £11 to £16 and are available from The Georgian Theatre Royal’s Box Office (01748) 825252 or via the online booking service at www.georgiantheatre.co.uk