Downing Dramatic Society performs Shakespeare's Sister

Last week, Downing Dramatic Society (DDS) took to the stage for the annual Freshers’ play.

This year’s production of Emma Whipday’s ‘Shakespeare’s Sister’ ran for three nights at Downing’s Howard Theatre with a mix of first-time performers and more seasoned actors from the DDS stable.

The play focused on Judith Shakespeare (Elena Cormican) who’s one ambition is to be a playwright. When her debt-ridden father (Asha Sykes) forces her into an engagement, she runs away with the help of dashing actor Ned Alleyn (George Jackson), hoping to join her brother William (Finn Lavington) in London.

When Judith arrives in the plague-stricken capital, she finds her brother gone, Ned engaged to another, and her play refused.

The play then follows Judith confronting poverty in the midst of an economic depression, in a society where women’s freedoms are curtailed, under a government confronting religious extremism in a climate of fear. Judith faces a choice of succumbing to social pressures and following her dream of being a playwright.

Director Lily Ellis said: "Putting together the Downing Freshers' Play has been a difficult and all-consuming yet extremely rewarding task. I have learnt so much over the rehearsal process. I had never directed before, and with a huge cast of sixteen people, working round people's Cambridge schedules was quite a difficulty!

"Our cast (who ranged from people who had never performed before to people who had done loads of theatre) worked incredibly hard while also maintaining a fun and supportive environment, which was my absolute favourite thing about this production. It very much paid off, as they put on a wonderful show!"

Published 28 February 2023