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Hello to all from Michael. The year so far in Paris, Oxford, the RSC and more ...

Michael getting elemental hugging a tree
Me getting elemental ...

Hello Everyone!

It’s been a while since I last put fingers to keys! So here goes…

It’s been a whirlwind of a year thus far! Careful what you wish for!

The world is opening up and Covid seems to be diminishing although we’re not out of the woods entirely especially for the Arts Industries. But there’s chinks of light and glimmers of hope.

This year started off with my lovely Project A folk in Newcastle. A brilliant studio program with young folk being able to commit to rigorous training independent of the usual systems.

Two Shakespeare’s followed back to back. One at Rose Bruford College of the Arts and one at East 15. As You Like It and Two Gentlemen of Verona respectively! Great fun and two of my favourites.

It’s always a challenge rehearsing two shows sometimes on the same day and code switching. Needless to say I was mashing up characters, scenes and story arc and just making a right pig’s ear of it. But just added to the mayhem!

Both were lovely and students shone and audiences were more than appreciative!

I’m always amazed and grateful for the offers students make and how they have such instinct for the language and intuition into its delivery.

Then a month’s stint in Paris at the International Institute De La Marionnette where I helped co-direct a production of Henry V in French with my partner in crime there, the brilliant Christina Batman. In France we are known as Batman and Corbidge! What’s not to like about that. I’ve sent Robin flying.

I’m putting a flyer in the pics so you can peruse what went on.

It was an anniversary year of Henry’s death in 1422 and he died in the Chateau in Vincennes where we performed.

Paris in the spring time - nowhere more beautiful on earth!

It was a feat to accomplish a play across such enormous grounds but it worked and it worked well!

Grateful for such an opportunity.

Gallery below of the amazing puppets and rehearsal shots and this QR code will take you on a detailed tour!!!

Shakespeare is never very far away as you know and intertwined were casting and audition workshops in Oxford, in February, for a summer production of The Tempest in University park in July. We’ve found a stunning cast and it’s exciting to be a part of. Gallery below.

Back at Rose Bruford I worked with 11 amazing Americans on an exchange program with the American Theatre Arts faculty. We had a brilliant month of hashing and mashing a show together and presenting on their last day or term. We used 24 moments in Shakespeare and gave them a modern twist! Think Queen Lear and her daughters as Mean Girls! It was a riot brought the house down. Contemporary sound track, beautiful. Not a word adulterated or out of place!

Now you might think I’m crazy and have lost the plot somewhat but I’m now in rehearsal for the Tempest and no it’s not the same one.

This is with another P.I.C (partner in crime) Victoria Williams. We’re both voice and text coaches with the RSC and we’ve worked together over the years on numerous things.

She asked me if I’d like to co direct a tour across the home counties in some spectacular venues. The first audience groups are children both primary and secondary.

I’ve always wanted to make a show for a younger audience and this was the opp!

So, I’m here now with a cast of 12 brilliant young actors with two weeks to go! It’s shaping up to be really fun and dynamic with fab music and singing. As many of you know I like my Shakespeare’s to have music played and sung at every available opportunity and I love working with actor musicians and singers.

So, with two on the boil and, yes, I’ve been doing prelim workshops with the other cast I’m hoping I’ll get at least one of them right!

Actually you can’t make them the same it’s an impossible feat.

They could not be more different. Which is lovely and I’m just being different with my ideas as they are with theirs. Funny how it works.

If you can do come along

I’ll post all details

So, with one opening in June and touring and the other opening in mid July that’s quite a lot of Shakespeare’s in a short time! That’s 5 not counting the workshops, courses and tutoring!

And it’s not over yet!

I’ve been to some great places to teach as well this year. Leeds at the Conservatoire and some stunning days there with the performing Arts Students. Just Tack from Devon supporting an Open Air theatre Company The Inn Theatre with their up-coming production of Hamlet. My on my I wish I was in that production.

Gig at the Belgrade in Coventry coming up and all the usual show support at college in the wider industry.

I’ve had the good fortune to be on the RSC’s Rebellion Project supporting my local theatre The Marlowe in Canterbury and their team of community players who were chosen to be in the production. Again, an amazing experience. Very similar to the Open Stages campaign some of you may remember.

I’m keeping the door wedged open with my corporate work and developing new ideas with training and using Shakespeare to problem solve. It has been great having the opportunity to put them into practise.

I’m taking a well-earned break in August! Apart from a couple of tiny weeny workshops because I couldn’t say no! A week on The Dream = how could I resist!

I’m not running any elemental courses this year across the summer but will pick up in September so if you’re keen leave a post or contact Pam.

I love running them in the winter - so more to find. More resistance and more weather.

See the glorious photos of Deal below. Dates to come soon.

The Autumn looks a little hazy at present but that’s not unusual. Feelers are out and I’ve been offered some very different and unusual things!

One in South Korea! Now that might keep you guessing for a while!

Well that’s enough. Signing out!

Do keep in touch and let me know if I can support your work in any way

Think about the elemental courses across September to March

Have a great Summer


The Tempest with the Oxford Theatre Group

Henry V with the Institut International de la Marionnette

The glories of Deal and my home studio - perfect for an Elemental Shakespeare weekend (Elemental as in the elements)

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