For 2017, Merely Theatre embark on second national tour of genderblind work with two of Shakespeare’s best loved shows performed in rep: Romeo & Juliet and Twelfth Night.

Presented in Merely Theatre’s signature stripped-back style, the plays overflow with energy and urgency, seeking to blow the cobwebs off Shakespeare. Merely’s productions are raucous and joyous, stirring and visceral.

Merely’s commitment to gender-blind practice means actors rehearse their five-hand productions in male-female pairs, generating twice the amount of ideas for each role, while halving the rehearsal time for each individual. A man and a woman play each set of parts alternately across the venues on the tour; a male Juliet, a female Malvolio - any combination is possible.

Much has been made of the death of repertory theatre. Doing multiple shows at once, working with the same actors, learning a huge breadth of parts, immersion in the classics, and stretching an actor’s range are just some of the advantages of which theatre luminaries have mourned the loss. For some, that loss was too much to take. So, Merely Theatre started as a way for a company of actors to work together discovering the best way to put on Shakespeare’s plays. Rep is not dead, it has evolved.

Artistic Director Scott Ellis comments, We’ve done our best to recreate that same atmosphere and attitude from the old rep system. The discipline and the technique, the focus. The commitment to making every time we’ve done it the best time we’ve done it. We put in the work, we sweat it hard, and out of that pressure cooker come some extraordinary things. It’s an exhilarating way to work. We are doing raw, pure Shakespeare, the kind people get swept up in and excited by.

Supported by The Production Exchange and public funding by Arts Council England.

The ethics behind Merely Theatre are inspiring for forward-thinking theatre makers (A Younger Theatre).

Running time 115 minutes (including interval)


Twitter @MerelyTheatre

Artistic Director Scott Ellis
Associate Director Tatty Hennessey
Set/Costume Designer Florence Hazard
Lighting Designer Christopher Nairne
Producer Emmy Rose
Content Producer Robert Myles

Cast Ffion Jones
Robert Myles
Sarah Peachey
Luke Barton
Tamara Astor
Stephen Leask
Emmy Rose
Simon Grujich
Hannah Ellis
David Gerits

Tour Dates

21st February Bedales Olivier Theatre, Bedales School, Steep, GU32 2DG
27th – 28th February Eastwood Park Theatre, Rouken Glen Road, Giffnock, G46 6UG
2nd – 3rd March New Lincoln Theatre Royal, Clasketgate, Lincoln, LN2 1LJ
8th – 9th March Norwich Playhouse Theatre, Theatre Street, Norwich, NR2 1RL
14th – 15th March Corn Exchange Newbury, Market Place, Newbury RG14 5BD
16th March Stantonbury Theatre, Stantonbury, Milton Keynes MK14 6BN
21st – 22nd March The Old Laundry, Rayrigg Road, Windermere LA23 3
23rd – 24th March Wokingham Theatre, Twyford Road, Wokingham, Berks RG40 5TU
28th – 29th March Market Place Theatre, Market Street, Armagh BT61 7BW
30th March Island Arts Centre, The Island, Lisburn BT27 4RL
31st March Down Arts Centre, 2-6 Irish Street, Downpatrick BT30 6BP
1st April The Space Theatre, Castle Park Rd, Bangor, C. Down BT20 4TD
18th – 22nd April Greenwich Theatre, Crooms Hill, London SE10 8ES
5th May Uppingham Theatre, 32 Stockerston Road, Uppingham LE15 9UD
10th May The Old Town Hall, High Street, Hemel Hempstead HP1 3AE
22nd – 23rd May Lowther Pvillion, West Beach, Lytham St Anne's, Lancashire FY8 5QQ
24th – 25th May Theatre Royal Wakefield, Drury Lane, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF1 2TE

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