The creative director of the play Redefining Juliet, which has six actresses playing the heroine,...
Six actresses play Juliet in unconventional look at tragic heroine
The play, which is the subject of a BBC documentary, sees Shakespeare’s heroine played by six different actresses different from the conventional Juliets: tall, deaf, wheelchair-bound, small, large, they all take a turn in the role.
Creative director Storme Toolis, who is a wheelchair user and one of the Juliets, said: “I think if he saw what we were doing, I don’t think he would be hugely offended and shocked and like: ‘Oh my goodness who are these people playing these roles’.
“Because you have to remember that in his time, Juliet was played by a boy, a 14-year-old boy. We’ve never even gone down that road. If we were to do that now, goodness knows the kind of controversy that would emerge as a result of that. I think he would want his plays never to go out of fashion, which is what we’re trying to do.”
The actress, who has starred in New Tricks and The Inbetweeners Movie, told the Press Association she had dreamt of playing the character since she was a teenager.
She said: “It came from personal ambition, but it grew from there into a bigger point about what it means to be beautiful and how you’re perceived, whether you’re a desirable category of person or not on the stage.
“Because stage and screen affect real life, so if you’re not seen like that on stage or on screen, how can you be seen like that in real life?”
She explained: “Disabled people are not naturally perceived as very sexy people.