INTERVIEW WITH CASTLE WALL PRODUCTIONS
Castle Wall Productions is a theatrical troupe based in Colorado. They specialize in delivering performances set in the Middle Ages, and can be seen at medieval and renaissance fairs, weddings and shows. Several dozen performers are available for these shows, some of whom have are experienced in medieval combat, and others in designing historical looking dress and equipment. We spoke with the members of Castle Wall Productions about their company:
Could you tell us how Castle Wall Productions began?
Castle Wall Productions originally started when Samantha Cone in 1992 watched a living chess match in Florida, and thought to herself we could do that but with a story. She then co started a group there eventually moving here to Colorado.
Your show takes the audience into the legendary story of Robin Hood. Why did you find that particular story to be a good fit for the kind of show you are performing?
The legend of Robin Hood is universally known and the cast of characters which is large, are more widely identifiable then say King Arthur or Beowulf. The story is pretty set as to who is a good and who is the bad which allows us to tell a pretty concise story with our show times.
Could you tell us about the way you went about doing the research and planning into not only the story, but developing the medieval look to your costumes and equipment? Where do you set the line between being historically accurate and the constraints of putting on a show for a modern day audience?
The problem is two fold since we are dealing with a legendary story set in a historical period we have to marry the two. A lot of research went into historically being as accurate as possible with costumes, armor and the look of the show. We make considerations for safety; the best example of this is chain mail mittens which for the time frame were common attire for knights, we use gloves (all members do as a measure of protection). Our weapons are another example they are spring steel so they have that <ring> to them that people are used to hearing in movies. “Real” carbon steel swords <clack> and ironically most people think that those swords are more fake.
Your website mentioned that some of the members have knowledge in chain weaving, leather working and several sewing techniques; how did they learn these kind of skills?
When someone joins CWP we find out if they have any special knowledge and are willing to teach those interested in that skill. We have teams that handle building and maintaining their particular areas, such as Weapons Team, Armor Team and Props Team and the teams have meetings where that specialty is taught and used to produce items for the group.
The people involved in Castle Wall Productions are there on a volunteer basis – does that make it easier or harder to develop your shows?
Probably harder, as it requires a lot of commitment and a love for this sort of thing, and when you are not paying someone sometimes its harder to get those people to stick to their commitment.
What sets your group apart from other re-enactment groups?
Castle Wall Productions is actually not a re enactment group we are a Theatrical Combat Troupe. We are a very period accurate theater troop, but we are entertainers first re-enactors second, and always educators.
Finally, where do you see your company going forward in the next few years (or more broadly, how the medieval and renaissance fair and reenactment industry will develop in the United States)?
CWP has a pretty far reaching goal, which is eventually opening up two other CWP in other states, when I took over in 2004 we had 16 individuals now we have nearly 50. As far as the US there are may factors foremost the economy it takes a lot to put fares on and if that money is not there…
We thank Ky Seibert for arranging this interview. To learn more about Castle Wall Productions, go to http://www.castlewallprod.com/