About ensemble

Members of the ensemble in rehearsal

We are committed to the principles of ensemble theatre and the benefits that those ideas bring to the creative process, to actors and to audiences.

An ensemble is a group of actors, directors, designers and other theatre artists who work together over an extended period of time.

A normal acting company might rehearse for four weeks before performing a single play for the same amount of time, but the actors of the 2009 - 2011 ensemble will work together for over two and a half years on a repertoire including Shakespeare and new writing with directors such as Michael Boyd, David Farr, Lucy Bailey and Anthony Neilson.

What are the benefits of ensemble to actors?

The benefit of an ensemble is that it allows actors and directors to gain a far deeper understanding of each other, and of the plays on which they are working. A sustained rehearsal period allows for additional training, helping them to develop their craft and grow as actors. It makes it possible for them to explore and experiment as a company, with time to play in an atmosphere of increasing trust.

What are the benefits of the ensemble to the audience?

Productions never stop evolving as actors continually gain fresh insights that they feed into the work the audience sees on stage each night. Audiences are able to join the actors on this journey over the course of several seasons, as both discover new characters, plays and perspectives.

Defining features of the 2009-2011 ensemble

  • 30 month contracts for the actors
  • Intensive training in voice, verse, movement and rhetoric as part of the ongoing Artist Development Programme
  • Postgraduate training in the teaching of Shakespeare as part of our commitment to Stand up for Shakespeare
  • Work with some of the most challenging and innovative directors in British theatre
  • Embedded writers working closely with and writing for a company of actors, as Shakespeare did
  • A balanced combination of Shakespeare and New Work - using Shakespeare's dramaturgy to influence approaches to new plays
  • Working on the thrust stage, bringing audiences closer to the action
  • Intensive developmental work on creative projects with theatre artists from all over the world
  • Public understudy runs


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Teaching Shakespeare