I’m writing this column on Sunday morning, after the most intense theatrical experience of my life.

I was lucky enough to be cast in Protocol’s production of Macbeth. They are the local professional company, Professionals To Colchester. Shakespeare’s classic play was given a modern twist, with the power of technology being the evil the witches unleashes, and edited to remain true to the story, but containing a vitality and pace that modern audiences expect. The play feels like a template for so much popular entertainment, Game of Thrones especially, and is wonderfully open to interpretation, as are most of the Bards plays.

Some interesting numbers. Nine cast members, one week’s rehearsal, and ten shows in six days, including four schools performances. You read that right, one week’s rehearsal, in which every day the production leapt forward in leaps and bounds and as a cast we had to remember things vividly, as there was little time to return to scenes. As actors, we all reconnected with skills we have, and all of us learnt a range of new skills as fresh challenges were thrown at us. Performing two performances at St. Helena Schools back to back, beginning at 9 am for example, and also to over 340 pupils at the superb theatre at Phillip Morant School.

It was the schools performances that had the most effect on us. It’s on the syllabus and we performed Macbeth on the eve of the exams for many pupils. The feedback we got, in the main, was that the production brought the play to life, providing huge material for discussion and making parts of the play clear. Certainly, in some schools, you could feel the tension, from both staff and students, of exam pressure, but we all hope we have helped in some way. And there are things in schools, as an actor, you need to be acutely aware of. It’s even more important to check your flies are done up before walking on stage. It’s vital to know the route from the stage around the corridors, one wrong turn and you can end up in double physics. Though, to be fair, Miss Jenkins does bring the subject to life.

I feel as if I haven’t seen the sun for two weeks, but I loved the process and performances. Good luck to all students taking their GCSE’s, and I hope we helped bring the Bard to life.