The Shakespeare Ensemble is a collective of artists, many having worked together over the last ten years on various projects under various companies (including Passion in Practice and Seven Stages Shakespeare).

The ensemble is comprised of British and International artists whose main work has been to explore Shakespeare’s original rehearsal and performance practices – especially those of accent, space, company, and stage-craft – to bring about new tools for modern production and education.

Members come from different backgrounds and different companies that have overlapped in various ways. Where we – and the crafts that we are exploring, examining, and continuing to hone – come from feels important, so, here we are starting to talk about where we came from, what our ancestry is, & our lineage in this business.

The foundation of the ensemble’s physical work was an adaptation of sticks exercise curator Ben Crystal developed from workshop with Complicite in 1999. They’re used to build Ensemble and encourage grounded, simple play; then as a tool to allow for character exploration within the world of the plays. These exercises were further developed with Rob Gander at the University of Reno, Nevada, then with Passion in Practice. 

Much of the movement fundamentals resonate with choreographic work, and come from working with the actor and movement practitioner Jennifer Jackson.

  • the tools/technique we use, where we got them
    • adaptation of David Zambrano’s passing through, Jennifer Jackson / Passion in Practice
    • bamboo sticks, adapted from Complicite workshops
    • whiteboard, Jennifer Jackson / Passion in Practice
    • check-in/reinforcement, Shakespeare & Co via Advice to the Players
    • intimacy direction, Claire Warden
  • “precursor” projects members of the ensemble were involved in
    • Dreame at the Ucheldre Centre, Holyhead, UK
    • Seven Stages Shakespeare: Hamlet, Winter’s Tale, King Lear, New Hampshire
    • Passion in Practice: Pericles Recomposed, Henry V, Hamlet, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra / Savannah Music Festival, Shakespeare’s Globe, Nevada Repertory Company