The Hoard – Rediscovered Review

One of the biggest Covid casualties this year has to be the theatre industry. Personally, I was very concerned for our own wonderful theatres in Staffordshire. However, the thing about creatives is they are just that and in times of adversity they will find a solution. It is what they do… Review by Mel Osbourne – 4 stars

The New Vic Theatre has been one of the creatives doing just that with Artistic Director Theresa Heskins battling the Pandemic by bringing theatre into the comfort of our own homes.

Hoard rediscovered is a collection of plays about the Staffordshire Hoard. There is a main feature ‘Unearthed’ directed by Theresa Heskins, which focuses on the discovery of the treasure and then 11 short monologues, directed by Gemma Fairlie and designed by Mika Handley, which explore many aspects of the Hoards meaning and history.

The Staffordshire Hoard was discovered in 2009, and at that time I was a busy mum of two young children. Although I thought it was exciting I, like most people, happily stared at the items in the glass case at the museum but didn’t really think through the origin or meaning.

“The Hoard” at the New Vic completely changed my whole perception and engaged me in what I realise now was a sheer magical discovery. I sat in the comfort of my home, drinking copious amounts of tea and devoured all 12 plays. It was a theatre lovers dream.

The first feature ‘Unearthed’ is performed by actors using recordings of interviews from the people involved – a very clever technique which made it real and natural, but also brought a storybook quality to it – and it was this play which opened my eyes more to what The Hoard is all about.

The following 11 plays are a collection of exploration of the Hoard from many perspectives, some set in the present day such as ‘Hwat!’ a mum preparing for her daughter to go to university to ‘In defence of the monster’ a retelling of the Bewoulf story.

My favourite, which was a hard one to pick, was ‘Rune’, a schoolgirl’s encounter with the Staffordshire Hoard on a school trip, which was hilariously told by Crystal Condie.

It was wonderful to see many regular actors for the New Vic theatre involved and full credit to the production staff, who had with great expertise and care transformed a play from the stage to the screen.

My afternoon in front of the laptop took me to many places thanks to the imagination of the cast and crew of this show. I will count down the days till I can sit on the newly refurbished seats at the New Vic but for now I urge you to download this amazing celebration of a magical find.

**Click The Hoard – Rediscovered for more details. (Main image Andrew Billington.)

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