The complete works of Shakespeare – performed on a table top

Tune in between 26 Oct and 3rd Nov

A salt and pepper pot for the king and queen. A vase for the prince. A matchbox for the servant. A toilet roll tube for the Innkeeper. A water bottle for the messenger.

Forced Entertainment’s six performers create condensed versions of each and every Shakespeare play, comically and intimately retelling them as compelling stories, using a collection of everyday objects as stand-ins for the characters on the one metre stage of an ordinary table top.

Working in partnership with SPILL Festival and Pilot Theatre, Forced Entertainment will livestream all 36 plays of ‘Complete Works: Table Top Shakespeare’ from its presentation at SPILL Festival in Ipswich, between 26th October and 3rd November 2018. All 36 performances will be free to view across multiple platforms, including the company’s website and Facebook page.

The complete performance schedule can be found on the Spill Festival website.

The first weekend of performances will also be live–subtitled by Stage Text.

Table Top Shakespeare from Forced Entertainment
Forced Entertainment – Table top Shakespeare – Image Credit Hugo Glendinning

Tell us more about Table Top Shakespeare

Forced Entertainment have long had an obsession with virtual or described performance, exploring in different ways over the years the possibilities of conjuring extraordinary scenes, images and stories using language alone. In a new direction for the group, Complete Works: Table Top Shakespeare explores the dynamic force of narrative in relation to Shakespeare’s comedies, tragedies, histories and late plays. What follows is simple and idiosyncratic, absurd and strangely compelling as, through a kind of lo-fi, home-made puppetry, the stories of the plays really do come to life in vivid miniature.

Forced Entertainment’s Complete Works is the first time they’ve approached dramatic literature and the Shakespearean legacy. The result is a kind of levelling of the plays – a gently comic re-casting of them via objects from the kitchen cabinet and grocery store shelves – as well as a celebration of their power as stories, and the act of storytelling and theatre itself.

About this artist

Forced Entertainment is a Sheffield-based theatre company founded in 1984. Touring and presenting their ground-breaking provocative performances across the UK, Europe, and the rest of the world, the group have sustained a unique collaborative practice for more than thirty years, producing work that explores and often explodes the conventions of genre, narrative and theatre itself, drawing influence not just from drama but from dance, performance art, music culture and popular forms such as cabaret and stand-up.