I’ve directed fourteen productions of Shakespeare, in theatres and amphitheatres, in chapels and castles, to audiences from 50 people to 900. I’ve worked on hundreds of scenes from across the canon in classes and workshops, and in several different languages.
Shakespeare is my daily professional companion, and I could not be more fortunate. Over more than a decade of teaching Shakespeare for the majority of the year to students and professional actors, and interspersing the focus on Shakespeare with work in acting traditions drawn from across the world of performance, I’ve come to a place of great affinity with Shakespeare’s fundamental theatrical sense; and I’ve developed a methodology of teaching Shakespearean acting which at once springs from tradition, hangs upon the present moment, and forges urgently into the future. My work concentrates on the psycho-dramatic structures the playwright embeds in his form and language, and on the intimate and truthful relationship between actor and audience.
My work is very strongly influenced by both New Historicist Shakespearean scholarship, and by its theatrical counterpart: practical research into early modern theatre spaces, acting style, and performance values. My work as both a director and as an acting teacher ranges stylistically from ‘original practices’ to the radically contemporary; but my approach to Shakespeare is always, regardless of the context, rooted in text. In formulating my approach, I am particularly influenced by the scholarship of Jonathan Bate, David Crystal, Stephen Greenblatt, Andrew Gurr, Farah Karim-Cooper, Laurie Maguire, Charles Nicholl, Abigail Rokison, James Shapiro and John Southworth; and by the textual approaches of John Barton, Declan Donnellan and Peter Hall.
Over the last decade, former students of mine have appeared in leading classical roles at major theatres in the US, China, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Greece, France, Spain, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, South Korea, South Africa, Uganda, Mexico, Ireland, Norway, and across Eastern Europe, as well as in the UK. Others have achieved successful careers on TV, in films, or in contemporary or devised theatre; still others direct, write, dramaturg, choreograph, produce, design, film, compose, curate or teach drama and performance in a wide variety of settings. At the core for all of us is a dramatic education received in Shakespeare’s company: one of the greatest challenges an actor or theatre-maker can undertake, and in itself one of theatre’s greatest rewards.