Looking for a few good singing archers

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Regional - posted Tue., Feb. 19, 2013
Contributed
Prince John's thugs face off against Robin Hood's men during fight rehearsals. The Robin Hood Springtime Festival is held in Guilford, Conn., Saturdays and Sundays, May 18 through June 2. Courtesy photos. - Contributed Photo

Risom Mills, in Danielson, will be the testing grounds for aspiring actors seeking to prove their mettle as singer-archers and swashbuckling swordsmen. Auditions for the “Robin Hood Festival,” held in Guilford, Conn., will take place on April 6 and 7, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“Experience is not essential,” said festival Director David Stickney. “But talent is.”

“Right now we're looking for anyone and everyone,” said Brian Harvard, co-owner of the Connecticut Renaissance Faire. “All roles are open. We're looking to cast Robin Hood, right down to the guards who will walk around with Queen Eleanor and Prince John.”

If children under the age of 16 want to audition, parents must accompany them during the entire rehearsal process. Parents must also be on site at the festival for the day-long production. “It's a great way to get parents involved,” said Harvard.

The village of Nottingham has been re-created on the Guilford Fair Grounds, along with Sherwood Forest. Actors and actresses chosen to perform will be provided with costumes that fit in with the atmosphere of the medieval fair. Unlike a traditional play, this one is a wide-ranging, out-in-the-open kind of experience, according to Harvard.

“‘Robin Hood’ is similar to a stage performance, but it’s done at multiple stages throughout the fairgrounds,” he said. “You don't just sit down for a few hours and watch the entire performance. You come to the festival and you watch the first act shortly after the fair opens. The next scene could come an hour later. It gives people a chance to walk around, do some shopping, play some games, eat some food, watch some of the other shows. The story of Robin Hood unfolds throughout the day.”

The in-house production of the Robin Hood story is put on every year. Last year Queen Eleanor, a new character, was introduced, who ended up being captured by Prince John. “We made it look like it was Robin Hood and his merry men who did it,” Harvard said. “Prince John gets away with it. It's a continuing story. It's a lot of fun.”

The festival will also feature knights, fire-eaters, sword-swallowers and magicians. Continuous, interactive entertainment goes on throughout the day, both on and off the stages.

The right candidates will receive tuition-free training in period dialect, improvisation, audience interaction, dance or other areas as required by their roles.

The producers of The Connecticut Renaissance Faire hope to cast both actors and backstage personnel for the Robin Hood Festival. The Festival runs three straight weekends, from May 18 to June 2, on the Guilford Fair Grounds in Guilford, Conn. To arrange an audition, e-mail auditions@ctfaire.com or visit www.robinhoodsfaire.com.


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