A TOP professional theatre director will be at the helm for a production of Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead at Wallingford's Corn Exchange this month.

Lucy Pitman-Wallace, whose work includes high-profile productions with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre, will lead the town's Sinodun Players in an innovative re-telling of Tom Stoppard's absurdist tragi-comedy featuring two minor characters from Shakespeare's Hamlet.

As a director, Ms Pitman-Wallace, who lives in Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, has worked extensively with top theatre companies in the UK and abroad, but this will be the first time she has worked with the Wallingford drama group and she is looking forward to the experience.

She said: "I have known about the Sinodun Players and the Corn Exchange theatre since I moved to the Wallingford area.

"Their reputation as an excellent amateur group, fuelled my desire to work with them in their beautiful refurbished theatre.

"I am enjoying working with this professionally-run group."

Ms Pitman Wallace will be bringing a wealth of experience to the Corn Exchange. In an impressive career spanning more than 20 years, she has directed highly-regarded professional productions at venues all over Britain and abroad, picking up numerous 'best director' awards in the process.

Stoppard's play focuses on the misadventures and offstage musings of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two minor characters in Shakespeare's Hamlet.

Using Stoppard's witty and droll dialogue, the duo voice their confusion about their roles in the story of Hamlet which, from their perspective, are largely nonsensical and comical.

First performed at the Edinburgh Festival in 1967, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead made the young Stoppard's reputation.

It explores a world where nothing makes sense for the protagonists Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

Ms Pitman-Wallace said: “I see it as a philosophical musing on the nature of being whilst remaining a comedy. Ever since I assisted on a production at the National I have wanted to do my own version.”

Producer Gloria Wright is very enthusiastic about the production and working with a professional director.

She added: "It was 40 years ago that we opened the Corn Exchange as a theatre and since then we have worked hard to build the reputation of the Sinodun Players as a centre for excellence in South Oxfordshire.

"Working with Lucy is giving us the opportunity to gain valuable insights into the world of professional theatre and push ourselves to the next level.”

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead takes place at Corn Exchange, Market Place, Wallingford, on May 23-26 at 7.45pm. Tickets at £10 are available from cornexchange.org.uk, or phone 01491 825000, or on the door.