Week One of Research & Development on Macbeth

In 2016, we were one of two finalists for the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award and we were awarded one week of research and development time at the Barbican looking at Macbeth using spoken and signed languages through the eyes of the central couple.

It’s finally the right time for us to return to this project for another research and development, this time one week at Poplar Union and New Wolsey and one week at the National Theatre Studio, supported by Arts Council England.

We have one Deaf and one hearing actor playing Macbeth and one Deaf and one hearing actor playing Lady Macbeth, and we are discovering exciting ways to use the four actors and two languages (signed and spoken) to delve deeply into the psychology of these characters and the fracturing within them. We’re particularly exploring grief, trauma, ambition and power.

Joining the cast this time around is Oliver Alvin-Wilson playing Macbeth alongside Stephen Collins. Erin Siobhan Hutching and Sophie Stone both return as Lady Macbeth, with support from Vilma Jackson who stepped in for Sophie for a few days this week while she was off filming for the BBC!

Jennifer K. Bates continues to direct, this time with support from Ben Spiller (dramaturg and the fountain of knowledge for all things Shakespearean), Brian Duffy (BSL consultant and genius at making things visual) and Rachel Sampley (our favourite long time collaborator, lighting designer and technical manager).

Many thanks to Poplar Union and New Wolsey for having us last week. Tomorrow we head to the National Theatre Studio!

Images by David Monteith-Hodge
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