News

Wondrous comments from audience members after #BillAlexander's #Masterclass on his new adaptation called 'A Merchant of Venice', March 2nd at #ThePlaygroundTheatre

The #power of #Shakespeare in the hands of a #Master of his #craft - #video of Masterclass coming soon with actors #CarrieOliver #OliviaGosling #LachlanForlong #ConnorSheridan

Mary Chater 0 479

I adored it. Bill was enthralling and his wisdom and approach to Shakespeare has already left an indelible mark! Or should I say: a palpable hit.
How heartening that Bill stressed the language and how it unlocks character, revealing so many possibilities to explore. I found it particularly helpful since I’m about to embark on my own production ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ at #QuestorsTheatre #Ealing. The masterclass simply made me so joyous and ready to engage with my cast…..like a wondrous balm.
I’d very much like to become a Friend. Thank you again for organising this event and inspiring so many of us.
Best wishes
Mike Hadjipateras

What a fantastic event! It was inspirational and so enjoyable, I could have listened for hours and hours. How marvellous that you were directed by him. I saw that it was being videoed will it be put on YouTube? - Lynn Strugnell

The master class was superb - Bill was incredible and the actors were very responsive - Susan Brice

Bill's Masterclass was a tour de force! He is such an amazing director and can really dissect Shakespeare in a way that makes me really appreciate it as both an actor and a Literature student. Yes - he may even be Shakespeare re-incarnated?!  Faisal Mohiuddin

#InternationalWomensDay with #Womeninprison.org.uk in #Woking on Wednesday March 11th 2020 - The Mayor of Woking's charity 2019 / 2020

Heart warming appreciation for Professor Charlotte Scott and actress Mary Chater who worked with some of the women on performance projects in 2019 for International Women's Day and Art Awards.

Mary Chater 0 518


It was reasonably busy in the circumstances, and as always a really warm feel, but no performances this year. The woman had made a tree with positive messages on.
Hannah Philpott - Administrator

#Rare #opportunity for #Masterclass with #RSC Honorary Associate Artist Bill Alexander - Monday March 2nd at #ThePlaygroundTheatre, London W10 6RQ

Theatre director Bill Alexander (RSC Honorary Associate Artist) will lead a two hour Masterclass on ‘A Merchant of Venice’ - his #new #adaptation. Followed by 30 mins of questions from the audience. Tickets: £22 & £15 concessions - boxoffice@theplaygroundtheatre.london

Mary Chater 0 520

Bill began his career at the Bristol Old Vic and joined the RSC in 1977 where he was Resident and then Associate Director until 1992. He was Artistic Director of the #BirminghamRep between 1992 and 2001. Having directed ‘The Merchant of Venice’ four times (RSC, Birmingham Rep, #LAMDA and #BristolOldVicTheatreSchool) it has become, by his own admission, an obsession with him.
Acting students from #DramaStudioLondon will assist Bill in the masterclass, which will focus on themes within the play. We welcome anyone to the Masterclass who has either a love of and interest in Shakespeare or who is simply curious to know more and see a master of his profession at work!


We can also announce that Bill's adaptation, a 90-minute, modern dress version, ‘A Merchant of Venice’, will be performed at the Playground Theatre in September. This is a new production by Shakespeare in Italy (incorporating Sharing Shakespeare)

General admission - £22

Concession - ( #student, #unemployed, #'over60's #under26 ) - £15

Teachers and lecturers go free when bringing a group of 10 or more.

Please contact the Box Office via boxoffice@theplaygroundtheatre.london to book        

For more information please contact Mary Chater or Collette Parker at info@shakespeareinitaly.org.uk  -  poster image by Chris Duggan

#BillAlexander on his #new #90minute, #6actor #adaptation in #moderndress of #TheMerchantofVenice - at The Playground Theatre, Latimer Road London W10 in September

This will be our first production. Eleanor Bull will design the show www.eleanorbull.co.uk www.theplaygroundtheatre.london

Mary Chater 0 693

One can get obsessed with a particular work of art and I confess that obsession is the only way to describe my relationship to The Merchant of Venice. I have directed it twice professionally (the RSC and Birmingham Rep), twice at drama schools (LAMDA and Bristol Old Vic Theatre School) and taught and lectured on it often. When working on select scenes with students at the London Drama Studio (Ealing) it began to occur to me that there was an inner play about a small network of relationships that was the core of the bigger play that wrestles with huge themes of Justice and Mercy, Marriage and Money, Race and Class, and it is this inner core, essentially about the tortured nature of Love, that my production for Shakespeare in Italy will focus on.


Antonio loves Bassanio in a tortured way because he struggles to understand the true nature of his feelings and has no idea either how to express them or whether they will ever be reciprocated. Bassanio loves Portia but is tortured by how real that is when weighed against his desperate need of her money to repay his debts to a man he also loves, Antonio! Portia loves Bassanio but is tortured by the terms of her dead father's bizarre will that dictates her marital future turns on the outcome of a crazy-seeming lottery. The conversation of the lovers before Bassanio makes his choice turns around the metaphor of them both being on the rack, the Elizabethan torturers instrument of choice. Shylocks torture, apart from his foul treatment by the Christians of Venice, is the death of his adored wife Leah and the duplicity of his daughter. My version of the play, which I have called A Merchant of Venice, excludes much that is well known, to focus on just six key characters whose entangled loves, desires and fortunes hinge on better understanding of themselves and their relation to each other in the blackly comic world of a modern Venice, the sublime and terrible Serenissima.
Bill Alexander January 2020 

#theplaygroundtheatrelondon #newadaptation #moderndress #90minutes #6actors #eleanorbull #designer #billalexander #smallscale #innovative #newversion #youngactors #portia #shylock #bassanio #antonio #gratiano #repubblicadivenezia #venice #Elizabethanrack #rackinstrumentoftorture #laSerenissima #teatrogoldoni #themerchantofvenice

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