Run away to the circus this summer! York Theatre Royal will once again be on the move with a new travelling family show.
A new circus-themed adaptation of the Jules Verne classic Around the World in 80 Days will visit all four corners of York before finishing on stage at York Theatre Royal.
The show will be staged outdoors on school playing fields at Carr Junior School (6-8 Aug), Copmanthorpe Primary School (10-12 Aug) Archbishop Holgate’s School (14-16 Aug) and Joseph Rowntree School (18-21 Aug).
It will then conclude indoors at York Theatre Royal on 25 to 28 August.
The adaptation is by the theatre’s creative director Juliet Forster, who directed the successful Travelling Pantomime this past Christmas.
Juliet said: “As one of the characters in the play says: ‘If you can’t travel to exciting parts of the globe this summer, don’t despair – we are here to bring the world to you!’ That is the spirit of this production really.
“Many of us are feeling disappointed that there are still a lot of restrictions around travelling this summer, so this show is the perfect opportunity for some armchair tourism – or rather, picnic blanket tourism.”
To book your tickets for Around The World In 80 Days, please visit the York Theatre Royal website.
Chief executive Tom Bird said: “Following the success of our hugely popular family summer shows, we are excited to be going outdoors and to all four corners of York again with Around The World In 80 Days.
“This madcap adventure, full of fun and frivolity is just what we need right now – enjoy!”
York-based performer Dora Rubinstein will be starring in the production as real-life investigative journalist Nellie Bly, as well as a character called The Acrobat.
Alongside acting, Dora regularly teaches and runs workshops in acrobalance, handstands, flexibility, contortion and aerial.
Some of her previous roles include Mary Magdalene in the BBC Radio York version of the York Mystery Plays, Anne Lister in Love Bites at York Theatre Royal, Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz at Leicester Square Theatre, and many more.
Q&A with Dora Rubinstein
How long have you lived in York? What brought you to the city?
I’ve lived here for two years now. I grew up in Newcastle and my grandparents were in York so I’ve been coming here all my life. I wanted to leave London and move to a city that had a real buzz about it but was small enough to walk everywhere, and somewhere with beautiful buildings and easy access to lovely countryside. York fits the bill perfectly!
Have you played at York Theatre Royal before?
Yes but not in this way – when I first moved here I did a job called ‘Digital Ghost Hunt’ which was a visiting production from Kit Theatre. This was an immersive experience where we took the audience around the theatre (backstage, into the costume stores, everywhere!) to try and figure out the message the theatre ghost was telling us. It was so much fun and did mean I quickly learned my way around the building!
You’ve played a number of iconic female roles including Cinderella, Wendy in Peter Pan, Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Lady Macbeth – who’s your favourite?
I don’t know if I could pick a favourite, but playing Wendy in Peter Pan was one of my favourite jobs ever as it just felt like permission to be a kid for a few months again. We flew, fought, bounced on trampolines, the whole shebang. In our version of Peter Pan (written by Sarah Punshon) Wendy was a pre-teen going through a tough time, and playing her, as her defences dropped down and she learned it was ok to be a kid was just a lovely, lovely experience.
You played Mary Magdalene in the York Theatre Royal/ BBC Radio York adaptation of York Mystery Plays – how was that experience?
Surreal! It was loads of fun but hilarious to record as we had to record all our lines separately and remotely, so you just had to kind of imagine the line before yours being delivered before saying yours. Recording audio jobs remotely you need as many soft furnishings around as possible for the acoustics, so I was also recording huddled in my duvet with the wardrobes open and curtains drawn!
You play The Acrobat in Around in World in 80 Days – what sort of acrobatics will you be doing?
Some contortion and some partner acrobatics with Ali Azhar, who plays Passepartout. He’s picked things up so quickly. Everyone in the cast has got involved in one way or another though and they’re all amazing!
Tell us about teaching yoga, acrobalance, handstands, flexibility, contortion and aerial in York and Leeds.
Acrobatics and even contortion are as much about strength as they are about bendiness, and mostly I train what we call ‘active flexibility’, where you use the strength of your muscles to bring yourself into a position rather than just allowing yourself to relax and flop into it. I teach at studios across York and Leeds and also teach private classes in peoples’ homes. Some of my favourites are the family Acro-yoga classes I teach, where a parent and child will work and play together to try acrobatic moves, building their trust and communication together as well as getting strong and learning some cool new party tricks!
You also play Nellie Bly – how does she fit into the story?
Nellie Bly was a real woman who was inspired by Jules Verne’s book and decided to actually go around the world in (less than) 80 days. In our play, my acrobat character decided Nellie was cooler than Phileas Fogg, so she decides to sneakily bring in her story too. I love how Nellie writes about her trip and her descriptions of each country are beautiful. They really contrast well to the action-packed scenes from Fogg’s story.
Have you been around the world in 80 days?
Funnily enough no…
Best place you’ve visited (and why)?
Italy is my favourite country. Florence is my favourite city there, I love it as my Grandma lived there for a bit when she was young and it reminds me of her. But my favourite places are Lake Iseo just above Milan and Apricale, a tiny village close to the French border. The scenery around both of those areas is incredible, loads of mountains and places to swim. Plus obviously Italian food is amazing. I could definitely spend 80 days travelling Italy. But also a huge shout out to York – a city that I loved so much I moved to it!
Place you’d most like to visit (and why)?
I’d love to go to South America. My Granny used to go every year and her ashes were scattered on the Machu Picchu trail, so I’d love to go there.