A True Ensemble Project: The Canterbury Tales

The Canterbury Tales
Written by Lindsay Price

Are you looking for a great ensemble piece that gives every performer a chance to shine? Look no further than the classical adaptation, The Canterbury Tales by Lindsay Price, where Chaucer’s classic collection of tales comes to life.

A group of travelers set out for Canterbury on a pilgrimage. To pass the time they entertain each other with a storytelling contest. Best story wins a prize.

Great characters, lots of humour, and strong ensemble work. Text uses modern English.

Co-directed by Kimberly Schooley and Bronwyn Wyngaard the students from Bishop Mackenzie International School in Lilongwe, Malawi were all able to take part and shine throughout this production, showcasing their talents and involving everyone from beginning to end:

The Canterbury Tales was the perfect play for a large, combined middle and high school cast in our international school in Malawi, known as “the Warm Heart of Africa.” The individual tales provided manageable parts for less experienced actors, and the pilgrim roles gave my more experienced students a wonderful platform to polish their skills. I was even able to include the extra students that auditioned by doubling some characters (the best was Death cast as two creepy old women played by a boy and a girl wandering around the stage together and speaking in unison).

The costuming and set design we did as an afterschool activity on its own, which included even more student ownership of the process. I have directed many of Theatrefolk’s scripts, because they are wonderfully written with children in mind, while at the same time providing the adults in the room with plenty of sophisticated and not so sophisticated laughs. The audience reception for our two-night run was overwhelmingly positive. Thanks, Theatrefolk and Lindsay!

Amazing work, Bishop Mackenzie International School!

*Photo credit: Nik Bishop

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About the author

Lindsay Price