Private Drama

by Eddie Roche

Dying for a little theater fix, but loath at the idea of taking in your Shakespeare among the masses? Help is here, from the pages of the Daily Summer! Go People, a British troupe, would just love to turn your living room or backyard into a virtual stage. Lucy Evans, the group’s ringleader, explains the process.

What’s the scoop on what you’ve dubbed “private theater”?
The idea came from one of our patrons, who made a throwaway comment that we should do a play in her house because her dining room was very large. That got our creative juices flowing.

What happened next?
We tried it in a flat in London, and a journalist picked up on it. The Independent came and wrote an article, and things took off. The idea is that the shows are portable and don’t require sets—we want the client’s home to be the focus.

What shows have you done?
Win/Lose/Draw, Noël Coward’s Ways and Means, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, The Provoked Wife, and Almost, Maine. If a host has a particular desire, we’re happy to create it.

What inspired your arrival in the Hamptons?
After every play, we come out and socialize, and I met an American who said that we’d be a perfect fit for the Hamptons. I had been to Southampton, and thought it was a great idea. I know the social scene here, and people are always looking for something different.

What’s your plan?
This summer, we’re doing a trial run. We’re only coming for 10 days in August, but if people like it, we’ll make a more serious commitment in the coming summers.

How many members do you have?
Seven. The three of us who run the company—Freddie Hutchins, Melanie Fullbrook, and myself—and four other actors.

What’s the cost?
It ranges from $3,000 to $4,500. It would be slightly different if someone wanted a specific play, because we’d have to get the company together, rehearse, and buy the rights.

Do you wear costumes?
Yes! It’s lovely, because the Noël Coward play is set in the 1920s, so we wear all kinds of gorgeous clothes from that era, which we
will be traveling with across the ocean. The Midsummer’s Night Dream costumes are brilliant. We had to create a version of that play that uses only seven actors—typically, there are 15 actors.

Do you have any performances lined up yet?
We have a few bookings already and are in talks with others. If on our first night of performing one of the guests wants us to perform five days later at his house, as long as we’re free, we can accommodate.

Where will you stay?
Theater angels will be hosting us in different homes.

Mansions, we hope!
That would be best, but beggars can’t be choosers.

What have you told the rest of the company about the Hamptons?
I’ve been telling them about how I was blown away by the scenery and the calmness. If we end up with loads of bookings, we’re going to have a complete laugh. If we end up with only three bookings, it will be great as well because of the beaches and restaurants. There’s a fine line between wanting to get as many bookings as possible and not wanting to lose the exclusivity of what we do. You’re really treating yourself by having a theater come to your very own living room or garden.

Your plan is very ambitious, and we love it.
Thank you! It feels like the right kind of risk. We’ll jump off the cliff and I feel like someone will catch us. But let’s talk again in two months!

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