Arabian Nights

Arabian Nights by Hattie Taylor was staged by TRBTS Summer Company at The Egg Theatre, Bath in August 2019.

Is this the time for stories?

This is the perfect time for stories. Stories show us how to overcome, to triumph. Even over death.

From Aladdin to Sinbad, genies and flying carpets, you all know the magical stories of the Arabian Nights. But what do you know of the storyteller, the quest for survival, and the vital magic woven by these fantastical yarns? Scheherazade mjust rely on her wits, skill, and creative flair to build a wondrous world in order to save her life. These tales are full of wishes made real, terror and joy, and magical transformations… but can they change a woman’s fate?

The production was directed by Soph Jacobs-Wyburn, produced by Alex Duarte-Davies, and the production photography was by Chelsey Cliff. Full company details can be found at the foot of this page. Please email for more information.

Arabian Nights Company

Rima/Father/Officer – Alex Robson

Talia/Crew – Axel Bode

Kinda/Executioner – Amelia King

Cherin/Alba – Anna Roberts

Miriam/Doctor’s Partner – Austin McClelland Jenkins

Nabil/Fisherman – Campbell Maddox

Iliyas/Young Man/King – Charles Johnson

Shay/Enchantress – Cleo Kelley

Neena/Chef – Daisy Jackson

King Ouzi/Aziza/Hunchback – Eliana Woosnam 

Safa/Moh – Elif Defne Sertoglu

Vizier/Sami – Emmie Raine

Rami/Tailor/Puppeteer – Ethan Willis

Taser/Abu – Harry Bradley

Samed/Djinni – Iyshea Hender

Dessa/Crew – Kitty Allen

Sana/Officer – Lily Davies-Potter

Rana/Mother – Madeleine Foster

Zade – Matilda Broadbridge

Lana/Princess – Maya Sparks

Taj/Prince – Oliver Jerram

Hadi/Doctor/Puppeteer – Rachel Raynes

Hiba/Crew – Rohan Piper-Filluzeau

Maher/Prince – Sam Williams

Annas/Merchant – Sammy Pauna

Ziya/Bodyguard/Sultan – Sophie Hart

Kareem/Ape/Djinn/Puppeteer – Stevie Saunders

Tarek/Tailor’s Partner – Arthur Morris

Doctor Greco/Shah – Yves Morris

Backstage

Assistant Stage Managers – Luca Roth, Fiona Eddy & Felix Ormrod

LX Operator – Anthony Nightingale

Sound Operator – Gina-Mae Ellis

Wardrobe Assistant and Dresser- Katie Glassbrook, Olivia Payne & Anja Woosnam

Director’s Notes

The stories we tell have never felt more important. In an age of fake news, inctant connection, rolling newsfeeds and a growing sense of a global community; what we chosose to share, and how, has taken on a life beyond anything we can easily predit or control. The way in which we tell stories is also changing at a rapid pace – gone are the days of campfire stories and verbal histories, replaced by our own inventiveness. And yet our love of the ritual of story still persists. Bedtime stories still occupy a special foothold in childhood memories, dissecting the latest episode of the current TV hit is as important as having watched it and, of course, we still gather in the dark to hear practised storytellers welcome us into the worlds they have built for our entertainment, on stage and screen.

In our Arabian Nights we have grappled directly with this ebb and flow, and tried to explore the purpose of story in our development both as individuals and as communities. We have discovered how a tale can hold us together – rooting us in a time or place. We have watched as they challenge our ideas of right or wrong, or black and white world pictures, and let the grey areas seep through. Most of all, we have all experienced the joy of discovery – of new fantastical worlds, and fictional characters who feel like flesh-and-bone lost friends. We have found so much laughter amongst so much uncertainty, that I find, yet again, my hope for a joyful loving world restored by an excellent group of young people.

I am so incredibly fortunate in my work, to be surrounded by inspiring, talented people. Never is this more prominent than when I am working directly with the next generation of theatre makers. The company of Arabian Nights have proven themselves not only assured, talented creatives, but generous, thoughtful and dedicated individuals. It has been a privilege to go on this journey with them; to hear their voices ringing out so clearly, and see them take the space that is rightfully theirs.

We can all rest, knowing the art of storytelling is most certainly alive and well!

Assistant Director’s Notes

This year’s Summer Company has been wild! We have been handed a gold mine of characters bursting with personality, as well as colourful stories that are both bizarre and yet hold meaning and moral, if you take the time to read between the lines. we have created a world together that can, through it’s teal world inspiration, be relatable and is able to act as a voice for those less fortunate.

This world has been brought to life by the powerless youth who have so much they want to say. We are giving a new angle, a new younger perspective that isn’t going to be ignored anymore.

The attitudes of these characters and the design of this show takes great inspiration from the numerous crises that have happened and are happening all around the world. Refugees, evacuees, children forced to give up their childhoods due to the irresponsible actions of those in power.

I think if there is one thing everyone can relate to, it’s that children like stories. Children are imaginative and so they need to play. That’s why, during our rehearsal period, Sophie decided it would be interesting for the company to tell stories to each other every day – so that we can explore what makes a storyteller and how stories are told. Stories, of course, being a major part of this production.

Hattie Taylor (Writer), Soph Jacobs-Wyburn (Director), Luke Ashley (Assistant Director)

Writer’s Notes

Arabian Nights is often referred to by another name – 1001 Nights. So when Alex and Sophie first approached me to write an adaptation, I was a little bit daunted. 1001 nights means 1001 stories – just reading it was going to be a massive undertaking, let alone finding a way to fit a thousand stories (and a plot framing them) into two hours! Of course, we haven’t actually done that. The stories in Arabian Nights are rich, magical, and full of important lessons but, more important than them, is the storyteller. Scheherazade may seem very different in our version, but at her core she’s the same. This is a girl who is willing to sacrifice everything to keep other people safe, who uses stories to help those around her to grow and heal, and find who they are. In the original version she does this for the Sultan, in ours she does it for the children in the haven.

I’m in the very fortunate position that going in, I knew some of the members of Summer Company. I therefore knew that I could write a script in exactly the way I would for a group of professional actors – with ambiguity and complexity and unanswered questions (including things like how to turn a monkey into a djinni on stage) – and they would be more than capable of handling it. They’ve spent the past two and half weeks proving me right. It’s been a joy to watch them (helmed by Sophie, a writer’s dream of a director) fill out the world that has been in my head for so long now, and add to it in ways I would never have thought of on my own.

So, settle in for a version of Arabian Nights you haven’t seen before – still full of stories that aren’t trying to change the world, but hoping to change some people. Welcome to Zade’s Haven…

Arabian Nights Creative Team

Producer – Alex Duarte-Davies

Director – Soph Jacobs-Wyburn

Assistant Director – Luke Ashley

Movement Director – Emile Clarke

Designer – Caitlin Abbott

Costume Supervisor – Rachel Birch

Production Manager – Becky Vowles

Stage Manager – James Lisk

Lighting Design – Lloyd Evans

Sound Designer – Dinah Mullen

Deputy Stage Manager – Sam Smith

Head Chaperone – Matt Sterling

With special thanks to; Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Avon Scouts and all of the loved ones of company members for their support.

TRBTS

Theatre Royal Bath Theatre School aims to offer an inclusive program of training and workshops, that cover all disciplines of theatre-making and are open to any young person aged 5 to 25 years old.

Each week we run over 17 hours of sessions – working directly with young theatre-makers to develop their skills, mentor their artistic growth and support their creative drives. This includes our Backstage program, unique in the South West, offering a dedicated weekly space to learn technical and design led disciplines, as well as the opportunity to apply their skill-set to Theatre School productions wherever possible.

Our curriculum offers structured development of valuable skill-sets, which could be applied across a wide range of life experiences. We also promote an ethos of respect, daring, and self-identity throughout, fostering a sense of community and strong roots to support their growing creativity.

We aim to empower young artists and theatre makers to explore their own unique, capable, and persuasive voices. But we also hope to witness the development of life-long friendships, communities of peers offering support, and building enduring memories.

Vanity Fair by TRBTS

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