Creating a new world out of an old tale | Robin Hood

31 Jul 2019

Robin Hood kicks off our August in the Studio. Young Company have been hard at work crafting a new version of the tale – one full of intrigue, disguise as well as teamwork and friendship, in a world where the Sheriff has all but taken over and those who object are cast out. We spoke to Rohan (the Sheriff) and Biba (Marion) about how the company have updated this classic and what makes it different.

Hello. Who are you and who are you playing?

Rohan: My name is Rohan Thomas and I am playing the Sheriff as well as an exile and a tax collector.

Biba: My name’s Biba, I’m 17, and I’m playing Maid Marion.

How did you get involved in Young Company?

R: After years of being in a musical theatre group, Young Company was recommended to me as a place where I would be able to work on my straight acting skills and meet other like-minded people.

B: I was a member when I was around 9, but joined again in May this year and I found out about Robin Hood audition around the same time!

How have you found the process of making this show?

B: Super fun, exciting, and totally different from anything I’ve done before! It’s a real privilege to be part of such a collaborative devising process with such great people.

R: Making this show has been very rewarding. The devising process was creatively satisfying and immensely enjoyable. Working together to create this project has been fun and it has been interesting to see it all come together and change from the basic Robin Hood story.

This is a new version of Robin Hood, describe the world that you’re creating?

B: I would describe it as a timeless world, with events and systems that are reflective of both the past and the world we’re living in today.

R: To free the story from its medieval origins, the world we are creating isn’t attached to any particular time period. We are isolating the action to one particular town and the surrounding forest to keep the story focused on how the Sheriff's actions are affecting local people.

What has Young Company done to make this telling of Robin Hood different to the classic tale?

R: This is different to the original because the king is absent for most of the play, in his long sleep, so in fact the king’s mother Eleanor plays a very active part. Our female Robin Hood is bold and powerful and a team player. Meanwhile the Sheriff is focused on building a wall to keep out those he believes are against him...he's also overtaxing people to pay for it. Who, if they can't pay, are being forced to work on the wall or go into exile beyond it.

B: Unlike most adaptations, our Robin Hood isn’t a man, but a strong young woman. Also, the good King Richard in our production is in a ‘mysterious’ deep sleep - leaving the Sheriff room to seize power for himself.

In real life, who would you side with, Robin and the Outlaws or the Sherriff and his men?

B: I hope I would side with Robin and the Outlaws! They seem way more fun to be around, just hanging out in the forest and sharing campfire stories. Working for the Sheriff would just mean collecting taxes all day.

R: Even though I play the Sheriff, in real life, I would side with Robin and his Outlaws, no question! 

Describe your favourite moment in the show (no spoilers)?

R: In terms of entertainment value I think the scenes between the Sheriff and his tax collectors are really funny. Or the moment when a performance put on as a ruse by the Outlaws to cover for their stealing from the Sheriff, because the live on-stage music is great. The scene has a lot of energy and chaos!

B: This is a hard question, but I love the scene in the town when Marion’s identity is revealed and there is an epic Outlaw vs Tax Collector fight. I also love the ending, but I won’t spoil it.

Try and describe this show in three words.

R: Fun, energetic, intriguing!

B: Adventurous, sprawling, fun

Robin Hood plays in The Weston Studio, with tickets from £13, 1–3 Aug. For more info and to book tickets, click here.