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David Pibworth | The Blog

Actor, Writer, Producer, Director

The Arches Theatre: Zoom-ing Ahead With Rehearsals!

Taking full advantage of the lockdown ...

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Posted by David Pibworth on 07/04/2020 @ 8:00AM

The amazing cast of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' and I are taking full advantage of the lockdown to learn our lines thouroughly and rehearse for our August production at The Arches Theatre ...

We're rehearsing for The Arches Theatre production of 'A Midsummer's Night Dream' using Zoom!

We're rehearsing for The Arches Theatre production of 'A Midsummer's Night Dream' using Zoom!

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As you know we are thinking positively about our plans in bringing fantastic live theatre to our quirky outdoor stage at The Arches Theatre. The show must go on, as they say, so rehearsals must go on too. We obviously can't rehearse together at the moment like we normally would, so we are using the virtual world of Zoom video conferencing. It takes a little bit of getting used to.

"So far, it's working rather well!"

Director John Drinkwater, from Etcetera Theatre Company, virtually meets with the cast every Monday to run through our lines. We take it scene by scene, so only the actors needed for that section will join the call.

Many of the cast have already performed in professional and local Shakespeare productions, which certainly helps move rehearsals along. If you have ever read or performed a Shakespeare play, you will know that there is a lot to learn and it takes great discipline.

It also helps that we have John as the director. He has appeared in numerous Shakespeare plays including 'The Merry Wives of Windsor' at Courtyard Theatre for the R.S.C and starring as Oberon in an open-air production of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'! John also directed the 'Pink Panther - A Shot in the Dark' at The Arches last year!

The difference with last year is that we were able to get together and rehearse at the venue. This time we can't so we are unable to carry out rehearsal blocking. This is where the Director and cast work through scenes and discuss staging and character movement, which brings the performance to life. Not being able to practise this element with your fellow cast member can get a little frustrating.

Thankfully, many of the cast have already performed on the outdoor stage, so they have an idea of what will work and what to expect. Plus, they know just how close the audience are! We're working extremely hard behind the scenes already, as we're dedicated to bringing you a magical summer show.

"It is a different experience for us all!"

It is something we are all feeling very positive about though so we'll keep you updated on how we are getting on. Tickets to 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' performed by Etcetera Theatre Group from 6-8 August at The Arches Theatre are available now via

Until next time ...



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About David Pibworth ...


David is the owner and Artistic Director of The Arches Theatre in Clifton Reynes near Milton Keynes. Productions are underneath some flood arches on the disused Midland railway line (Bedford to Northampton). It is equidistant from Bedford, Northampton and Milton Keynes. You bring your food, drink and chairs and enjoy the varied shows that are produced. This year - 2022 - there are 12 productions on throughout the season, from Shakespeare to Ripping Yarns plus a music weekend.

David has been involved in 'Light Ent' for many years, working with Ray Galton and Alan Simpson adapting the scripts of 'Steptoe and Son' and those of Tony Hancock to the stage. He has produced shows for Norman Wisdom (which makes him feel old), Al Murray, and Joe Pasquale amongst others, and also worked in the music business promoting and producing shows with Chas and Dave, Neil Inness, Kenny Ball, Acker Bilk and others of that ilk.

He is also the director of a film school for young people in his home town of Olney as well as supporting many local events.

He recently negotiated permission from Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais to stage a short run of 'Porridge' on stage which proved a success.

This year the annual charity performance at The Arches Theatre will be the last of 'Ripping Yarns' by Michael Palin and Terry Jones, with the profits being donated to The National Brain Appeal' for research into dementia as David's father and uncle died of it, as did Michael Palin's friend and writing partner Terry Jones. Last year they raised an astonishing £10,000 and are hoping to get somewhere close again with the support of audiences and sponsors.

David also has a stage hire company and his wife Julie runs a livery yard, so they are surrounded by horses, dogs, light entertainment and and a 17 year old daughter.

He plays in a comedy jazz band and collects strange props such as the Spitting Image puppets of Denis Thatcher and Alan Bennett, the child catchers bike from the stage show of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and various other 'things' all of which he sells to raise money for the Arches Theatre, although he always finds it hard to part from these props. However as the theatre receives no funding at all, he is always devising ways to keep it going! Sponsors are always welcome!


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