The Actors Centre

SHAKESPEAK - hearing Shakespeare in a changing world

22 May 2017

The Shakespeare Speaking Laboratory 

When, a year ago, I started to think the Actors Centre should have a Shakespeare Speaking Laboratory, I really didn't know what that was. Obviously the speaking of Shakespeare is now in an unprecedented state of flux because of the rapidly changing world. Equally obviously there are no easy, perhaps no ultimate, answers to the question of what makes good speaking of Shakespeare and the classics. Plainly it was going to have to be a collaborative venture with different people contributing different perspectives. There is obviously a need for a resource like this in the industry, especially for emerging companies, actors, and directors.  And the Actors Centre is the obvious base from which to operate it.

But as to the practicalities, to how it would work, I really had very little idea.  A year on, thanks to the collaboration of many people, I have more idea.

We just had to start it and see how it would shape.  And now we can see it clearly establishing, especially in three ways...

We have a massive amount of interest and enthusiasm for the project from many diverse people.

We have had an enthralling sequence of workshops led by widely differing but distinctive practitioners who have given their time for very little remuneration. And the different approaches are begining to accumulate into something bigger than the sum of the parts.

We have a small but growing core group with the potential for a growing  mutual understanding.  But it's not excluding more casual occasional participants.

Best of all:  the feedback we are getting suggests that it is meeting a real need. Here's just three ...

"Shakespeak is a great platform: open, inviting and experimental in the true sense of the word. It gives room for sharing different ideas and techniques. As a teacher I felt welcomed  to work with new ideas with a group that was very talented and positive . 

It is a great chance to get to know other teachers and practitioners and get exposed to their way of working." - Ariella Eshed

"I have loved the workshops I have attended so far, each one has given me a different approach to the text - so useful for an actor to have a toolbox to draw on whenever is needed. They have made (Shakespeare) much more accescible to me and it's been fab to work with the group leaders and also meet and work with other actors." - Sallyann Fellowes

 "All have imbued the fortunate group who have attended the sessions with their energy, enthusiasm and passion for the work." - Michael Curran


Remember the latest Shakespeak sessions are bookable now - here's what's coming up:

Shakespeak: Living at the Moment of Speech - 1 June

Shakespeak: Stanislavski into Shakespeare - 14 June

Shakespeak: Rhyme and Reason - 5 July


William Trotter - Voice, Speech and Text tutor at the Actors Centre