Colchester's Protocol Theatre Company are back with one of the Bard's most popular plays.

That's Macbeth, which the production team are putting a very different slant on, when it takes to the stage at the Headgate Theatre next week.

Director Richard Conrad says: "We have gone with the idea that this is a play about the power of agency and in our play that means the media and social media, so what we've done is not make the Witches supernatural in the classic sense but have them as media moguls and social media trolls.

"To re-enforce that we will have screens as part of the set."

As well as taking a very modern look at the play, Richard has cut down it down to a more manageable one hour and 40 minutes.

"I think that's fine," he adds, "especially in this day and age, and bearing in mind we're taking a very different approach to the play but the essence of Shakespeare's story, the drama, the underlying themes will all be there."

And he's got a cracking cast to perform it as well, including Joseph Alexander Rawlings as Macbeth, who was one of the stars in Protocol's production of A View From A Bridge, which took place at St Martin's Church in Colchester back in 2017.

Joseph says: "Ideally I wanted a part to ease myself into acting but you can't pas up something like Macbeth. It's such a meaty, incredible role to play I'm a mixture of thrilled excitement and absolute terror."

He's joined by Roisin Keogh as Lady Macbeth, and Will Mugford, Paul T Davies and Sara Derrick, who will be playing the Witches.

Richard says: "We held auditions earlier this year and at the time I told everyone we would be doing it gender and age blind, so the fact we have two of the Witches as men really doesn't matter, and adds to what we're trying to do."

Protocol Theatre (which stands for professionals together in Colchester) was set up by Richard along with Joseph Lyndon and Alice Murray with the idea of plundering the wealth of local artistic talent that now resides in and around the area.

Perhaps best known locally for his appearances with the likes of Mad Hatter and CO2, the company is now also run by another familiar local actor Jonathan Davies, who has been a regular in the Colchester Operatic Society for the last few years.

Richard says: “When I came back from drama school about a year ago I took a look around to see what was happening on the local scene and discovered the Essex Theatre Arts Network. It was incredible, about 400 to 500 people all wanting to do the same kind of thing I wanted to do, and I thought someone should be using all this talent.”

Macbeth runs at the Headgate Theatre, Colchester, from Monday to Saturday, May 6 to 11, at 7.30pm and 2pm on the Saturday.

For tickets call the box office on 01206 366000.