How It All Began
macTheatre was set up by Barrie Jaimeson and Nicola Esson, two professional actors with a passion for theatre. A new adaptation of ‘The Chimes’ one of Dicken’s Christmas Books was the inaugral production. An ensemble piece with a professional London-based cast ran for 3 weeks at The Plume School Maldon followed by the London fringe at The White Bear in the New Year.
Maldon District Council commissioned macTheatre to work with local primary schools delivering a Viking project through arts engagement. Local community artist Harvey Thorne and drama therapist Tara Wood joined the team. They created a series of Art & Drama workshops in Promenade Park, Maldon. Under macTheatre direction an episode of a Viking soap-opera ‘NorseEnders’ was devised . This was professionally filmed and produced on videotape by mac Theatre.
In 1997 Maldon District Council and The Plume School set up a committee to create an Arts Centre in Maldon. As part of the feasibility study, mac theatre devised and produced an entertainment showing different aspects of the Arts such a centre could realise. An actor/musician show with a London cast of professional actors toured the District with ‘Curtain Raiser’. The show combined scenes from thrillers, musicals, magic shows, straight plays, Shakespeare, rock music, a twenty minute version of the classic film Casablanca and some local youngsters being The Spice Girls! The feasibility study revealed that the school was not the most suitable venue to house an Arts Centre but the work involved helped steer the school’s development towards the Specialist Arts College it is today.
In 2002 Maldon Town Council were looking for ideas to help celebrate the 400th Anniversary of William Shakespeare’s visit to Maldon with his King’s Players in 1603. Having performed professionally in The Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre in London, Barrie Jaimeson had always felt that the Promenade Park in Maldon provided an ideal amphitheatre and would be a more than suitable place for an open-air production of Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. This community production became the main event for the ‘Shakespeare Festival’ and the birth of Shakepeare-in-the-Park – a major event in the Maldon District.