|Matthew Cavendish as Moth and Robert Nairne|
as Don Adriano in rehearsals for
Love's Labour's Lost
|A Beautiful Bride: Adam Blampied as Helena and Christian Kinde as Demetrius|
Also, Shakespeare’s actors were all male, so we decided to start casting gender blind. We have amusingly been accused of casting ‘heteronormative’ which made us laugh, because we actually cast the ensemble and then cast the roles. So it is talent that matters, we’re not making statements about gender, which other companies do excellently. We’re just looking at making the best production possible with the ensemble that we have. This has led to a male Helena, played memorably by Adam Blampied, or a female Philostrate/ Puck played by Emily Jane Kerr. Both actors are excellent and created imaginative characters.
|Siobhan Daly rehearsing for The Tempest with Stewart Heffernan|
|David North as Don John in |
Much Ado About Nothing, June 2012
An example of this was in 2012, we ended up staging two completely different production of Much Ado About Nothing. The first one was held around the time of the Jubilee celebrations, and very organically, the cast created a world inspired by VE Day, with soldiers returning from war.
|Boris Mitkov as Don Pedro in Much Ado About Nothing|
When Original Practices is done well, the audience shouldn't really be thinking about the method, but engaging with the play.
|The Grassroots Dramaturg, Lauren Amy Pakes|
|Daisy Ward as Hermia and Kane Surry as Lysander|
in A Midsummer Night's Dream
To encourage participation from followers we've held an original art competition, judged by 2 cast members of The Hollow Crown, and a popular Cento Poetry writing contest that was judged by The Shakespeare Institute. We have a great time linking Shakespeare (in text or performance) to people's pre-existing interests. For example, recently promoted that there are 4 prominent Hamlets playing key roles in 'Skyfall' or 3 incredible Macbeth's in the X-Men franchise. By these activities, we love connecting fans with performers with academia - it's a blend of practices that we've yet to see on social media for Shakespeare.
Essentially we believe that Shakespeare can be a part of pop culture and should be accessible to everyone - be they enthusiasts, performers, academics or novices. On a more personal level, we are run by two admins, one from the UK (who was an extra in Henry V!) and one from the US. Both share a life-long love of Shakespeare, history, theatre and film and bring that energy to the 3000+ followers on Twitter every day. Our motto: Come for The Hollow Crown, Stay for the Shakespeare!