Two amateur actors who fell in love while rehearsing a Shakespeare play have been cast to play Romeo and Juliet in the bard’s classic love story.
Ben Sylvester, 21, and Lisa Nunn, 25, have been inseparable since they met while rehearsing for another Shakespeare’s Love Labours Lost last summer.
And now the couple have taken their romance to the stage as they play the title roles in the play about star crossed lovers.
Lisa, of Rainham, London, said: “He played the King of Navarre and I played the princesses’ best friend Rosaline.
“We did have quite a bit of contact, there’s a really funny scene in that play when the King thinks I am the princess and they are going out.
“There was quite a lot of flirty interaction between us two, that’s where we hit it off. We had some chemistry during rehearsals and it went from there.”
Ben took Lisa out a few weeks after the play’s run at Romford Summer Theatre in Essex finished and the two thespians have been together ever since.
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And Lisa said the chemistry between the pair has been beneficial to their on-stage relationship in rehearsals for Romeo and Juliet.
“Rehearsals have been so much fun. To some people it might be quite sickly but I love it, we work really well together and have a laugh” she said.
“Some people have said you can see it in our eyes that there is obviously quite a lot of passion there anyway.
“Where Romeo and Juliet first meet in the dance scene I have to look startled because I haven’t met him before.
“The first time I just thought ‘oh that’s Ben’ and people said it was quite obvious we knew each other so we had to work on that scene more than the love scenes.”
While Lisa is a geologist and sees amateur dramatics as a hobby, Ben is pursuing a career as an actor and playing Romeo is another step in the right direction.
“After Love Labours Lost the next thing coming up was Romeo and Juliet,” said Ben, of Warley, Essex.
“I was eager to audition for Romeo and then we decided it would be a really fun thing for us to audition together, we went for it and it worked really well.
“I’m excited but about five minutes before going on stage I will feel very nervous and having Lisa there will definitely help.
“We did a few scenes at the theatre’s show a few weeks ago and we were saying we felt nervous but when we got on stage I thought ‘it’s just Lisa’.
“We know we’ve got each other’s backs on stage, I just hope I won’t call her Lisa by accident.”
The production has run all week and marks the 400 year anniversary of the death of Shakespeare.
June Fitzgerald is directing the Brentwood Shakespeare Company production where the production is held.
She said: “We are very lucky to have a professional fight arranger to choreograph our fight scenes and Ingatestone Hall have been very good with loaning out their Elizabethan costumes so it all should look very good.”