It’s not been easy trying to get inside the mind of this most incredible genius of words, yet the journey we started over 20 years ago has been exhilarating, to say the least.
Originally set up as The Shakespeare Bones Project, in 2013 a decision was taken to invite other organisations to be a key part of the work, and as a result, it became The AlternativeShakespeare Collaboration.
The Globe Theatre today performs Shakespeare’s plays in a Theatre close to their original physical setting; for us it is about revitalising his works using a non-physical ‘creative space’.
Finding new ways of performing his existing plays, putting them into new settings, is not what this is about! We believe the real benefit of his legacy is for us to be as radical and original as Shakespeare was himself; writing new, challenging drama using the words, themes, and characters of his work as the raw material, much in the same way as DNA works. In doing so we believe Shakespeare’s work can be kept fresh and relevant for audiences throughout the world, for all time.
"This work is not just about keeping the finished works of Shakespeare alive. Even more important than that is the need to keep the mental processes and outlook he started well and truly alive, for all time. And even more importantly, learn just what it means to be 'AlternativeShakespearean'."
We welcome interest from organisations and individuals who share similar views with regard to the legacy of Shakespeare, and who want to help extend the work he was able to do. We have identified these areas where partners might contribute:
a) Universities and other organisations - to undertake independent research into AlternativeShakespeare
b) Theatre companies - to contribute to our research work and also perform the plays coming out of our work
c) Funding bodies - to help grow the work of the AlternativeShakespeare through financial backing of our work.
We create new plays that are inspired by and draw heavily on the style and works of William Shakespeare for over 20 years. Since then we have performed 10 re-imaginings of Shakespeare's original plays and 2 plays that take us into the workings of Shakespeare's mind and life.
"We believe our approach of staying faithful to the original works by putting them into very different settings results in a startling rejuvenation of the text, giving them a whole new life and meaning; reaction from audience members and press give evidence to this."
Shakespeare was a genius, fact; and as such people who love and admire his work generally show him an awful lot respect. Sometimes so much respect that they, wrongly in our opinion, believe it's sacrilege to 'mess' about with the plays.
Our viewpoint is rather different. Time, the great healer, is also the great destroyer; it gets to us all, including even Shakespeare.
Our belief is that over the hundreds of years that have passed, and the many hundreds of years yet to happen, the works themselves are in danger of becoming fossilized. And that would be a dreadful tragedy in itself, and would be doing his work, and the people throughout time, a great disservice.
For us it is important to keep a grounded perspective on his achievements; Shakespeare is only a point, notwithstanding maybe the most significant point, in the continuum of human understanding and development. And if the real significance of Shakespeare is to be fully assimilated, then it is imperative that we keep alive the tradition by creating new work out of his processes and his own body of work.