Women are not always Bard by those Propeller players

Richard Dempsey (Hermione) and Nicholas Asbury (Polixenes) in Propeller's Winter's Tale
Richard Dempsey (Hermione) and Nicholas Asbury (Polixenes) in Propeller's Winter's Tale
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AS The Winter’s Tale puts bums on seats at the Lyceum Theatre not everyone is so approving of the all-male aspect of the Propeller theatre company’s work.

Although the group has long succeeded with filling traditionally female roles with men, it has always defended the policy as anything other than a gimmick.

“I can see both sides of the argument,” says Nicholas Asbury, currently playing the male character of Polixenes at Tudor Square until Saturday.

“But if you took Propeller away you’d be taking 14 actors’ jobs away and given that 98 per cent of the acting profession is out of work at any one time...

“Yes it’s an all male cast, but there was a motive behind it in 1997 when Ed Hall (Propeller artistic director) wanted to tell the story of Henry V with male soldiers.

“It’s grown out of that.

“It was never a deliberate policy to set up an all-male thing, it just worked.

“Who knows whether they might have females in the future.

“It’s a thriving theatre company now. There are lots of female stage management and wardrobe.

“It’s giving a lot of people jobs and to a certain degree it doesn’t matter whether it’s men or women.

“It does raise issues of gender, but let us not forget Shakespeare was writing for men anyway.”

Propeller returns to the road following their highly praised UK and international tour of Richard III and The Comedy Of Errors, both of which enjoyed busy houses in Sheffield.

Nicholas was a TV regular on The Inbetweeners and other shows including Corrie, and has juggled numerous theatre productions with working with Propeller since it began.

“People who work in the theatre world are the least sexist, least racist, least homophobic people you’ve ever met. So it seems to harsh to label us descriminatory.

“I’m not playing a woman in this show. I’m playing a sheep.

“Maybe that’s discriminatory against cows.”