Kay’s debut is real labour of love

Kay Guccione, director of the Dilys Guite Players' production of Love Labour's Lost at the Lantern Theatre , in rehearsals
Kay Guccione, director of the Dilys Guite Players' production of Love Labour's Lost at the Lantern Theatre , in rehearsals

THE new artistic director of the Dilys Guite Players, Kay Guiccione, has boldly chosen to stage the rarely-performed Shakespearean comedy, Love’s Labour’s Lost, as her first production.

“I had always wanted to direct Love Labour Lost,” she says. “We tend to see the same Shakespeares and I felt we should go for something different. I like it because it’s Shakespeare’s most intellectual comedy. There’s a lot of jokes through things like Latin word play and we’ve minimised that and made a lot out of the frathouse setting.

”We have chosen a 1950s American college campus which is a familiar one from movies,” she says.

“It developed from conversations with Ed (her husband and chief executive of DGP) when trying to think where you would get four boys who would swear a pact “

In Shakespeare’s plot The King of Navarre and his three lords, Berowne, Longaville, and Dumaine, swear an oath to scholarship, which includes fasting and avoiding contact with women for three years.

“All of Shakespeare’s comedy plot devices are there,” remarks the director. “There are letters that go to the wrong person, people hiding precariously and four boys meeting four girls in flimsy disguise. All they do is put on sunglasses. The only one we’re missing is cross dressing.”

Kay Guiccione, who grew up in Hackenthorpe and went to Birley Spa school, has been with the DGP since she was 15 concentrating on acting until a few years ago when she started directing. “I assisted on Much Ado About Nothing and then co-directed Rosencrantz and Guildenstern with Martin Derbyshire,” she says.

Unlike many amateur stage performers Guiccione has never had ambitions to make a career out of it. That’s because she is quite happy with her day job managing and developing the faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health’s researcher development programme at the University of Sheffield.

She joined the Faculty in June 2010 after a four year post-doctoral research project in plant molecular biology, and a PhD in DNA repair also at the University of Sheffield. She is currently doing a masters at Derby business school in leadership coaching.

Up until recently Guccione also co-chaired Craft Candy, a Sheffield-based non-profit organisation working to develop communities, support, and training opportunities for artists and crafters in South Yorkshire.

Husband Ed - they met as students - is also part of DGP and in fact is playing Longaville in Love’s Labours Lost. “He really enjoys stage management and production side and he’s now chief executive,” his wife explains. “We persuaded him to play a dead Laertes in Rosencrantz which meant lying on the floor and everyone wants to see a bit more of him so he has taken a small role.” Or it may be a case of him wanting to see a bit more of his busy wife.

Love’s Labours Lost is at the Lantern Theatre from tonight to Saturday.