SHAKESPEARE’S Romeo and Juliet has seen its fair share of interpretations over the years.

Now an Oxford producer is looking for help with a version set in East Oxford.

Former director of the English Shakespeare Company and TV and film writer and producer Victor Glynn, who lives in Oxford, is leading a series of acting and script development workshops for 16-19 year olds this summer based on an adaptation by Oxford writer Polly Biswas Gladwin.

Instead of Capulets and Montagues, the screenplay, called Joe and Zara, tells of a romance between a Catholic boy and a Muslim girl.

It is one of five contemporary Shakespeare adaptations written by previous students of a screenwriting course at the Oxford University Department for Continuing Education.

Mr Glynn, who teaches creative writing courses at the University of Oxford, said: “I read Polly’s script about a year ago and it touches on so many issues today, especially with the exciting mixed communities in Oxford.

“The aim of the project is for young people to have an enormous amount of fun whilst thinking more deeply about the issues explored in the screenplay.”

Young people taking part will look at how to develop dialogue and create character.

Although there are no plans to film the adaptation, the organisers will be filming the workshops to make a documentary.

Mrs Biswas Gladwin, from Fyfield, said: “East Oxford is the most appropriate setting because of its diverse community – it wouldn’t work somewhere like rural Oxfordshire – and to get input from young people is going to be amazing.”

Sylvia Vetta, from Oxford, who has written an adaptation of Hamlet with 24-year-old Ben McSeion said: “Myself, Polly and Ben span three different generations.

“Screenwriting is very fluid and I think it’s important to include a fourth generation’s ideas.”

The first workshop for Joe and Zara is a screening of a shortened version on Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 film Romeo and Juliet at the Old Fire Station on Friday July 26.

  • To book a place and to find out more, email or call Sylvia on 07809 054969.