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BWW Interview: Jamie Ballard Talks Starring as Mark Antony in Shakespeare@ Home's JULIUS CAESAR

Shakespeare@ Home's 'Julius Caesar' also stars Jordan Barbour, Sky Lakota Lynch, Patrick Page, and Keith Hamilton Cobb.

BWW Interview: Jamie Ballard Talks Starring as Mark Antony in Shakespeare@ Home's JULIUS CAESAR

Shakespeare@ Home is bringing a new, exciting audio production to audiences all over the world with their upcoming adaptation of Julius Caesar. Julius Caesar launches its first episode on Monday February 22nd at 7pm EST, and features some of Broadway and the West End's most well-known performers. The production is free to stream and download at no cost.

The production stars Jamie Ballard (Harry Potter in The West End production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child as Mark Antony, Jordan Barbour (Broadway's The Inheritance) as Brutus, Sky Lakota Lynch (Dear Evan Hansen) as Lucius, Patrick Page (Hadestown) as Julius Caesar and Keith Hamilton Cobb (American Moor) as Cassius.

This audio production is Jersey City's Shakespeare@'s third installment of the season, produced and adapted by Artistic Director Sean Hagerty. Following the premiere of part 1 on Monday February 22nd, debut dates for parts 2, 3 and 4 of Julius Caesar are subsequent Mondays at 7pm EST, on March 1st, March 8th and March 15th-the "Ides of March" (the day Caesar was assassinated).

Julius Caesar features original music composed by Joan Melton with sound design by Emmy-winners Dan Gerhard and Ellen Fitton of Sonic Designs. Justin Goldner is the music producer and supervisor, and casting is by Robin Carus. Sydney Steele serves as the Associate Producer.

Julius Caesar is free to download and stream, and you can listen to the production online at www.shakespeare-at.org.

We spoke with Julius Caesar's Mark Antony, Jamie Ballard (who prior to the shutdown was starring as Harry Potter in the West End production of Harry Potter in The Cursed Child) about the process of bringing Shakespeare@ Home's Julius Caesar to life!


What were your thoughts when you were first cast as Mark Antony? Was this a role you had always wanted to play, or one you had never imagined you would get the chance to do?

When Sean Hagerty, the Artistic Director of Shakespeare@ Home, first mentioned his desire to do Julius Caesar as the next production, it really excited me, as it is a play I haven't revisited for a while. I've seen it a few times and I did a Cassius speech at drama school, but I was really looking forward to getting stuck into it afresh. And when Sean asked if I'd do Mark Antony, that came as a real surprise. It's not a part that I thought would come my way. And I'd forgotten the intricacies of his journey through the play.

It's a fascinating piece and its resonances are all the more poignant considering the events of the Capitol on the 6th January.

Talk to me about the rehearsal and recording process! What was that like?

It's been such a lifesaver doing these productions with Sean at the Shakespeare@ Home Company. Getting together with such a wonderful group of actors and creatives over what has been an incredibly difficult time for everyone has reignited my passion for Shakespeare and made me feel like an actor again.

We would all get together over Zoom at the beginning of the rehearsal process and

BWW Interview: Jamie Ballard Talks Starring as Mark Antony in Shakespeare@ Home's JULIUS CAESAR
Jamie Ballard in the West End Production of
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

read through the play. It was great to hear these fabulous actors, some of whom I've worked with before on the other Shakespeare@ Home productions, or James Howard, with whom I work on Harry Potter & The Cursed Child, and some new faces. Some of us are in London, others In New York and New Jersey, and some in LA. It's amazing that that's possible.

We would then have rehearsal calls to work out what was happening in the scene, unpicking any knotty moments, getting stuck in to the language. There is so much to get your teeth into. And as Sean and I were at drama school together and I've done Richard II and The Tempest with him for Shakespeare@ Home, and we have great shorthand. We really know how each other ticks and it's such an easy and pleasurable experience working on these incredible plays. We have a lot of laughs, but we get the nitty gritty of the job done.

Then the recording just flows on from that. The sound team of Dan Gerhard & Ellen Fitton are so amazing, once again; we have a lot of laughs, but know what the story needs. So, we are all over the world in our makeshift recording studios/cupboards, with cushions, duvets, acoustic boards, running through a scene - and then Sean will give a few notes and we'll do it again. So much fun!

BWW Interview: Jamie Ballard Talks Starring as Mark Antony in Shakespeare@ Home's JULIUS CAESARWhat has been the best, and also, most challenging part (if there was anything particularly challenging!) for you about working on an audio production as opposed to a live performance?

Ordinarily on an audio production, you'd be at a recording studio with the other actors and the director. So, initially it's tough not having the physical human contact, but needs must, and it's amazing how quickly you get used to being on your own in a cupboard, talking and working with everyone over Zoom. It's just so nice to be acting again after such a tricky year for everybody.

How was it working with this incredible cast?

It's an absolute pleasure and a privilege to be working with such an amazing bunch. I just love it. I learn so much from watching and listening to them totally smash it. It's thrilling. I can't believe my luck.

What are you most excited for audiences to experience with this new audio production?

This in an incredible play - it's so visceral, nerve-tingling. The stakes couldn't be higher, and Sean has attacked it in his usual incisive way - and as a result it really takes you on a rollercoaster journey. And I can't wait to hear the final edit, once the sound team have worked their customary magic. It's always so amazing to hear it that first time, to feel the world fully realized.

Do you have any final thoughts to share?

I'm so proud of what Sean Hagerty has achieved with his Shakespeare@ Home Company. To bring vibrant, exciting, clear productions of Shakespeare's plays, for free, to the masses is incredible and inspiring. He works so hard and just doesn't give up.

I think now, more than ever, people are craving things to fire their minds and creativity - and Sean and the Shakeapeare@ Home Company are providing just such productions to nourish the soul.


To listen to Julius Caesar online, visit www.shakespeare-at.org.

Photo Credit: Ross Ferguson, Johan Persson


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