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A top professional theatre director who lives in Brightwell-cum-Sotwell will be at the helm of Sinodun Players' production of Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead at Wallingford's Corn Exchange this month.

Lucy Pitman-Wallace, whose work includes high profile productions with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre, now promises an innovative re-telling of Tom Stoppard's absurdist tragi-comedy featuring two minor characters from Shakespeare's Hamlet.

As a director, Ms Pitman-Wallace has worked extensively with top theatre companies in the UK and abroad. This will be the first time she has worked with the Wallingford drama group and she is looking forward to the experience.

She says: I have known about the Sinodun Players and the Corn Exchange theatre since I moved to the Wallingford area. Their reputation as an excellent amateur group, fuelled my desire to work with them in their beautiful refurbished theatre. I am enjoying working with this professionally run group.

Ms Pitman Wallace will be bringing a wealth of experience to the Corn Exchange. In a career spanning more than 20 years, she has directed highly regarded professional productions at venues all over Britain and abroad, picking up numerous 'best director' awards in the process.

Stoppard's play focuses on the misadventures and offstage musings of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two minor characters in Shakespeare's Hamlet. Using Stoppard's witty and droll dialogue, the duo voice their confusion about their roles in the story of Hamlet which, from their perspective, are largely nonsensical and comical.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead was first performed at the Edinburgh Festival in 1967. It made the reputation of its young author Tom Stoppard. It explores a world where nothing makes sense for the protaganists Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Ms Pitman-Wallace says: I see it as a philosophical musing on the nature of being whilst remaining a comedy. Ever since I assisted on a production at the National I have wanted to do my own version.

Producer Gloria Wright is very enthusiastic about the production and working with a professional director. She says: "It was 40 years ago that we opened the Corn Exchange as a theatre and since then we have worked hard to build the reputation of the Sinodun Players as a centre for excellence in South Oxfordshire. Working with Lucy is giving us the opportunity to gain valuable insights into the world of professional theatre and push ourselves to the next level.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead takes place at Corn Exchange, Market Place, Wallingford, OX10 0EG on 23-26 May at 7.45pm. Tickets at 10 are available from, or phone 01491 825000, or on the door.

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