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Theatre stages court drama in Stafford as part of Artsfest


The University of Wolverhampton’s Arena Theatre and Staffordshire County Council have teamed up to stage a court drama in the historic Courtroom of Stafford’s Shire Hall Gallery.

Following the success of a full professional performance of Ginny Davies’ play, ‘Learned Friends’, at the Arena Theatre in Wolverhampton, the Arena Collaborative Theatre Makers Development Programme has agreed to stage the play in Stafford as part of the Artsfest celebration taking place during May and June across Wolverhampton, Stafford and Walsall.

The Shire Hall Gallery is housed in the Grade 2 listed building which is situated in the heart of Stafford's town centre. The Gallery is located in the Great Hall and consists of a large, temporary exhibition space, a Crafts Council selected Craft Shop and an historic Courtroom. Stafford's Shire Hall was home to the County Assizes, or criminal courts until 1991.

As the most important official building in the town in the Middle Ages, the Shire Hall was home to the county court, to the county's Justices of the Peace, and to judges on tour from Westminster.

Arena Theatre Learned Friends staged in Shire Hall Staffordshire

Neil Reading, Arena Theatre Manager, said:  “’Learned Friends’ draws on a lifelong association with the law as Ginny Davies’ father was a solicitor and her mother was a Justice of the Peace.  Ginny also worked as a criminal barrister in Birmingham and is married to a High Court Judge.

“She actually prosecuted a case in the Shire Hall Courtroom so it feels particularly fitting to stage the play in this unique location.  ‘Learned Friends’ has been very well received after touring Warwickshire venues and we thought it would cement our partnership working and highlight our presence as a University in Stafford to showcase the quality of our theatre and drama productions.”

‘Learned Friends’ will be staged in the Shire Hall Courtroom on 21st May 2016 at 2.30 pm and 5.30 pm. The play is set within the context of a criminal trial and draws parallels between the worlds of football and the law and answers questions frequently put to barristers. Full details of Artsfest events can be found on the website: Join the Artsfest conversation online by using #WLVArtsfest


For more information regarding Artsfest please email Fran Richards – Artsfest Co-Ordinator or call 01902 321 321 or contact the Media Relations Office on 01902 322003/322736

For more information please contact the Media Relations Office on 01902 32 2736 or 01902 518647.

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