A GROUP of eight actors are gearing up for a “spine-tingling” performance inside Winchester’s Great Hall and with a film star's backing.

Reading-based, community-led professional theatre company, Rabble Theatre will be making its Winchester debut of Henry I from Wednesday, July 12 to Saturday, July 15.

Chief executive of Play to the Crowd, Deryck Newland, saw a Rabble Theatre play in 2017 and insisted that they perform inside the Great Hall. Mr Newland has since worked hard to get the company the required access and funding for the show.

The 13th century building is all that remains of Winchester Castle which was founded by Henry I’s father William the Conqueror.

Actor Kate Winslet has praised the opportunity for such an authentic setting. She said: “It's phenomenal that Rabble has gained the permission to stage their ambitious production in Winchester Great Hall.

"I’m thrilled that theatre of such a high quality, that is both diverse and inclusive, is coming this summer”

READ MORE: Winchester Great Hall to host Henry I production by Rabble Theatre

Hampshire Chronicle: Toby Davies (right) and Joseph Black in rehearsalsToby Davies (right) and Joseph Black in rehearsals (Image: Rabble Theatre)

The venue can seat up to 200 people per show with two-thirds of the tickets having been sold already.

Co-artistic director and founder Toby Davies stars as Henry I. Toby, 41, said: “It’s going to be outstanding in that venue. As a company, we feel incredibly lucky to have gotten permission.

“Henry would have walked through there, it’s the same stones. To know that is remarkable. There are so many references to Winchester in the play. It’s so pertinent. It’s going to be spine-tingling in that space.”

The actor founded the company in 2012 alongside partner Dani Davies to champion women and make theatre more exciting and accessible.

This will be the group’s second adaptation of Henry I, with the directors making it their most ambitious project yet.

Former Hollyoaks actor, Amy Conachan, plays Henry’s favourite sister Adela who is the sensible one of the family, dealing with the chaos of her three brothers.

Amy, 32, said: “It’s amazing to be playing a woman that isn’t a victim but instead has strength and power. She’s a really cool, badass character to play.

“It’s not a talking history play. We tell the story through big, theatrical movement pieces. Even if you don’t know the story, the writing makes it really accessible and dramatic.

“I love touring and playing the same show in different places but I’ve never done something so relevant to the venue.”

Hampshire Chronicle: Amy Conachan (left) in rehearsalsAmy Conachan (left) in rehearsals (Image: Rabble Theatre)

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Director Toby Davies describes the show as a Game of Thrones meets HBO’s Succession, following the unlikely King’s power struggle and series of regrets.

Highlights include battle scenes and a soundtrack produced by a classical composer, an electronic DJ and music man Gilbert Lake who’s worked on films such as Matilda the Musical and Wonder Woman.

The production written by Beth Flintoff and directed by Hal Chambers has been supported by Play to the Crowd and Hampshire County Council.

Henry I is on inside the Great Hall, in Castle Avenue, from Wednesday, July 12 to Saturday, July 15 with matinee performances on Thursday and Saturday.

Tickets start from £16 and are available at theatreroyalwinchester.co.uk/whats-on/henry-i.