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SHAKE Festival weekend 24-25 September 2022

a SPECIAL EVENT at The Cut in Halesworth, Suffolk UK 

Readings, Comedy, Talks, Workshops, Performance, Singing and Art on the subject of Shakespeare

Click here for the BOX OFFICE

Day Ticket: Adult £32, Under 18s £15

Weekend Ticket: Adult £50, Under 18s £30

Individual Events: Adult £12, Under 18s £5



The award-winning actress Geraldine James (Anne with an E, Downton Abbey, Back to Life, Jewel in the Crown, Band of Gold) will give a talk on how she built her performances of Portia (Merchant of Venice) and Imogen (Cymbeline) which she played to great acclaim at the National Theatre and in the West-End. Her Portia was nominated for a Tony Award when it transferred to Broadway and she won the Canadian Screen Best Actress award for playing Marilla in Anne With An E on Netflix in 2018. 

2.   EDWARD HALL – Talk

Ed was artistic director of the Hampstead Theatre for ten years, and now spends most of his time directing films (Blythe Spirit with Judi Dench) and TV (Gentleman Jack, Downton Abbey, The Durrells). We are very happy to welcome him to SHAKE to give an inspirational talk about how he founded the all-male Propeller Theatre Company in 1997.


Alan Cox will present a workshop, where he directs a group of five actors in a scene from possibly one of Shakespeare's most contentious and problematic plays; The Taming of the Shrew. Exploring the Wooing Scene in depth, this will be a fascinating no-holds barred exploration of gender and sexual politics, and interactions from the audience will be welcome. With Wendy Morgan, Helen Adie, Katherine MacRae, Ricky Blaine and Alistair Hall.

Alan Cox has directed at The Gate Theatre and elsewhere and as an actor has worked at the RSC and National Theatre. He played Uncle Vanya at the Hampstead Theatre and Claudius in Hamlet for the Shakespeare Theatre co in Washington, D.C. He played David Frost in the national tour of Frost/Nixon, made his Broadway debut in Translations (Friel), and his film debut as Watson in Young Sherlock Holmes. Alan is also an expert collaborator in Ken Campbell’s School of Night.

4.   BOLD AND SAUCY WRONGS - Music Performance

The Ipswich-based band with a passion for Shakespeare are coming to play us a set of their compositions, including 'Sexy Cesario', a suite of songs about King Lear written by each band member, and much more!


Steven Unwin (English Touring Theatre, Rose Theatre Kingston) will give a talk about his new book Poor Naked Wretches (Reaktion Books) which is a fascinating full length study of Shakespeare’s working people.

6.    ISSY & STEFAN’S Singing Workshop

Tripple Olivier Award Nominee Issy Van Randwyck, most recently seen in The Boyfriend at the Menier Chocolate Factory, will give a singing masterclass. Joining her on the piano will be actor, singer, musical director and RADA teacher, Stefan Bednarcyzk (Florence Foster Jenkins, Topsy Turvy, Musical Director at National Theatre, Barbican, Almeida and choirmaster at St Patrick’s Soho Square).

Open to all ages and levels of singing ability, Issy and Stefan will work with you to unlock the drama within a song and discover an exciting and emotional journey through the lyrics. We will be looking at 'Brush Up Your Shakespeare' from Kiss Me Kate (Cole Porter inspired by the Taming of the Shrew) and Tonight from West Side Story (Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Arthur Laurents, inspired by Romeo and Juliet). Please look at either song in preparation.


How Philip Henslowe and Edward Alleyn (not Richard Burbage and William Shakespeare) made 16th-century London Theatre into an Industry. The power-point talk contains interesting images of original records, is pitched at all levels and is not at all stuffy! Grace is founder/ director of the Henslowe-Alleyn Digitisation Project and Professor Emerita of Shakespearean & Early Modern Drama at the University of Reading.

8.   PETER HAMILTON DYER - Globe Performance Workshop

Peter has worked extensively at Shakespeare's Globe as both an actor and a tutor/director and is a member of Shakespeare'​s Globe Higher Education Faculty, for whom he has been a Course Director, Scenes Director, Globe Performance Practice and Shakespeare's Text tutor. ​He has taught MA and undergraduate students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, LAMDA, Rutgers University USA, and many others. He also played Feste in the famous 2013 Twelfth Night with Mark Rylance, Stephen Fry and Johnny Flynn in London and on Broadway. 

9.    TIM FITZHIGHAM & THOM TUCK – Comedy Performance

416 years ago, Shakespeare’s Macbeth was first performed. Multi award-winners Thom Tuck (The Penny Dreadfuls, Thom Tuck Goes Straight to DVD, Horrible Histories) and Tim FitzHigham (Paddington 2, After Life, BBC Radio 4's The Gambler) arrive sizzling hot from Edinburgh to play a two-man Mr and Mrs Scottish-play. The greatest tragedy of SHAKE Fest 2022.

10.                   DIANA QUICK - Reading Venus & Adonis (1593)

Best known on TV as Julia in Brideshead Revisited, and as Gertrude to Alex Jennings’s Hamlet at the RSC, Diana has starred in many films and most of the great theatres in this country, in both classical and contemporary repertoire, including British premieres of works by Edward Bond, Howard Brenton, David Hare, David Mamet, Jean Genet, Doug Lucie, Tony Harrison, Gyn Maxwell, Thea Smiley, Jim Cartwright, Polly Teale, Helen Edmondson and many more. She has also participated in several shows which started life in Suffolk, translated Simone de Beauvoir's 'The Women Destroyed' published by Methuen and performed it internationally. Her memoir, 'A Tug on the Thread'  and an essay in 'Fifty Shades of Feminism' are both published by Virago.

11.                 PAUL BENNEY – Video Art

Paul Benney has worked as an artist and musician in both the U.S. and U.K. and is represented in public collections worldwide including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The National Gallery of Australia, The National Portrait Gallery, The Royal Collection, The Eli Broad Foundation, AIG Houston, and Standard Life. Benney has twice won the public choice award in the BP Portrait Awards and was chosen by HRH Prince Charles for “Seven Portraits: Surviving the Holocaust” now hanging in the Royal Collection. Paul is provided some thought provoking video art, projected onto the back wall of the theatre at The Cut, for the duration of SHAKE Festival 

12.           JENNY HALL – Verse Workshop

A workshop open to everybody and all levels of experience, in how to speak Shakespeare’s verse. Jenny has given workshops in verse speaking at King’s College Cambridge, Reading University, Newnham College Cambridge, Bedales School, The Cut and a lovely barn in Laxfield. She bases her workshops on the methods taught her by her late father, Sir Peter Hall, who founded the RSC in 1961.


Readings of Shakespeare's Sonnets by talented young people from Suffolk, with Q&A.



Summer 2021

The Winter's Tale

A fully rehearsed reading, performed live and streamed to YouTube on July 31st, 2021, at 19:30
Due to the rise of the Delta variant, and concerns for the safety of our 25-strong team,
our rehearsed reading was performed on Zoom rather than at the theatre
at Sands Films Studios, as originally planned.

Cast: Oliver Cotton, Mark Quartley, Charlotte Hamblin, Wendy Morgan, Leo Wringer, Maia Jemmett,
Tim Fitzhigham, Barnaby Taylor, Michael Mears, Rob Myles, Pamela Miles, Alistair Hall,
Louis J. Rhone, Helen Adie, Malachy King, Josh Fish, Andrew Mockler and Katherine MacRae.
Music by Oliver Wass and Finn Collinson. Animated painting backdrop by Paul Benney
Directed by Jenny Hall
"Well done to SHAKE Festival and to superb Winter's Tale cast and Jenny Caron Hall for last night's moving
rendition of top Shakespeare, voiced & realised on zoom. Remarkable technical achievement."
Allegra Productions

"Mark Quartley is a towering Leontes" Maryam Philpott, The Review Hub

"There are strong supporting performances from Charlotte Hamblin’s dignified Hermione, Leo Wringer’s kindly and wise Camillo and especially Wendy Morgan as a forceful and grave Paulina whose few scenes are a particular highlight." Maryam Philpott, The Review Hub

"Tim Fitzhigham’s Autolycus steals the show with actor-musicianship on a trusty guitar, with inter-scene interludes from Oliver Wass on the harp and Finn Collinson on the recorder. Barnaby Taylor’s Florizel was highly engaging, while Maia Jemmett as his lover Perdita makes the most of the relatively few lines she has." London Theatre 1.

"that was really superb - everyone was so very good in every way and it was totally absorbing" (audience member)

"Il faut ainsi saluer les superbes performances, notamment de Mark Quartley (Leonte), Charlotte Hamblin (Hermione), Wendy Morgan (Paulina) pour la dimension tragique ou de Leo Wringer (Camillo) ou Tim Fitzhigham (Autolycus) pour la dimension comique voire farcesque. Et dans le rôle de l’émouvante Perdita, la jeune Maia Jemmett, (fille d’Irina Brooke) fait des étincelles." Laetitia Hearteau, pour Esprit Paillettes

Curtain Call, Winter's Tale

A Midsummer Night's Dream was performed once, live, online on 31st March 2021

Dan Stevens and Rebecca Hall starred as Oberon/Theseus & Titania/Hippolyta. Luisa Omielan played Bottom the Weaver, Robert Hands played Peter Quince and Wendy Morgan played Puck. Mark Quartley played Snout/Wall, and Joseph Blatchley played Starvelling/Moonshine.

The four Lovers were Daniel Bowerbank, Máiréad Tyers, Barnaby Taylor and Louis Rudnicki, and Egeus was played by David Sibley.

East Anglian locals in the cast included Malachy King, Daisy Martineau and Phoebe Martineau who played fairies, as well as Tim Fitzhigham (Flute/Thisby), Ed Hughes who played Snug/Lion and Richard Blaine who played Philostrate. Mia Lakha (The Prince of Egypt) and her sister Lana Lakha were Mustardseed and Moth in Titania's train.

Reviews & Audience Feedback for A Midsummer Night's Dream

"Jenny Hall's emphasis on her starry reading of the play via Zoom lay very much with the text, which looked to be in safe hands at a rehearsal I eavesdropped on the previous week." Matt Wolf, The New York Times. 

'Dan Stevens' suave performance as Oberon was a prime asset in this production of A Midsummer Night's Dream." The Times. 

"Rebecca Hall went further, simply seducing the screen with generous lashings of old-fashioned sex appeal." The Arts Desk.

"A strong cast and a classic work allow this production to transcend limitations of the digital format." The Stage.

"Jenny Caron Hall brought a captivating reading filled to the brim with stars to our screens last night as part of her SHAKE Festival, which last year saw Geraldine James starring in The Tempest." Broadway World.

Absolutely brilliant.. cast was amazing.. well done to everyone. Thank you SHAKE festival...we were transported. what are you doing next? We can't wait!

"It was brilliant! So many highlights. Impeccable timing and superb cast!" Paul O.

I found that I noticed the beauty and the poetry of the language more than in a theatre. Maureen H.

Made me laugh a lot!" Sam R"

"Thank you so much for bringing the theatre to our home (upper Bavaria, in my case)! Amazing performance - I loved it and am smitten with the cast! Athens royalty, Puck and Peter Quince's folks, you know that you are brilliant and I wish you could all have had three curtain calls at least. And those amazing young people should have had FLOWERS thrown to them! Thank you for this evening!"

Sonnets & Carols          

23rd December 2020, Tea-time

A Selection of Sonnets and Music, starring Harriet Walter and Janet Suzman

with Wendy Morgan, Tim Fitzhigham, Ben Elder, Katherine MacRae and Barnaby Taylor  

Feedback for Sonnets & Carols:

"So moving and beautiful. Feels like an absolute gift today to have watched you all." Andrée C.

"A light in the darkness. Some order amongst the confusion. Thank you so much. Some calm in the storm. We loved it."
Louise C.

November 19th 2020
The Tempest was a fully rehearsed reading of Shakespeare's play, live-streamed to Youtube from zoom,

starring Geraldine James and Rebecca Hall

with Wendy Morgan, Robert Hands, Josephine Woodford, David Sibley, Barnaby Taylor, Lauryn Canny,

Amesh Edireweera, Antonio Aakeel, Tim Fitzhigham, Aidan Cheng, Ben Elder, Katherine MacRae and Richard Blaine.

Audience Feedback for The Tempest

'Thank you so much. I had forgotten how much I missed the wonder and beauty of Shakespeare. I loved it.' Jane H.

'I have never listened so carefully, and so enjoyably' Peter A.

'A resounding stunning success!' Dale P

'You got the whole atmosphere without props or scenery, and Prospero's last speech brought tears to my eyes.

Everyone was so good.' Caroline W.

'Geraldine James's Prospero was wonderful - she brought such a different hue to the part and the play' Fiona M.

'OMG totally enthralling. Loved it all. Congratulations to all — now that's how to zoom Shakespeare!' Liz W.

'Wonderful voices, bringing the whole play vividly to mind!' Jean G.

The inaugural SHAKE Festival was a 3-day event, 25/26/27 October 2019

FRIDAY 25 October The Three Inch Fools presented Much Ado About Nothing.

SATURDAY 26 October
Lucy Bailey, Titus Andronicus workshop.
Tim FitzHigham - An Audience with 3 Actors & 3 Monologues, with Joe Sowerbutts, Ben Elder and Beth Keys-Holloway.
Dame Harriet Walter: Shakespeare & Gender (talk + performance with Ian Kelly + Q&A).
Jenny Hall, Kids Verse Workshop.
Dr Bonnie Lander-Johnson: Flowers, Folklore and Shakespeares Rural Upbringing. Lecture with actors Tamara Hinchco and Tom Marshall.
Caroline Mummery and Roger Eno: (dance workshop) Ariels Song set to original music.
Richard OBrien, Verse Drama from Shakespeare to the Present, with actors Roderick Smith, Judith Sharp and Richard Blaine.
Ian Kelly: "Shakespeare, Garrick and the Birth of an Icon (lecture).
Film Screening:
David Tennant plays Hamlet at the RSC.

SUNDAY 27 October 2019
Jenny Hall The Rhetoric of Shakespeare's Women - workshop with actors Dame Harriet Walter and Judith Sharp.
Prof Grace Ioppolo: 'Vagrant and licentious rabble' The life of a travelling actor in Shakespeare's England (lecture).
Tim FitzHigham, An Audience with 3 Actors and 3 Monologues. With Joe Sowerbutts, Ben Elder & Beth Keys-Holloway.
Jo Carrick, ' Forest Theatre & Why Shakespeare Works Outdoors.'
John Wyver of Illuminations Media: Filming Shakespeare On Stage for the RSC (talk).
A rare film:
Peter Hall's RSC A Midsummer Nights Dream, 1959,starring Diana Rigg, Albert Finney, Vanessa Redgrave, Ian Holm and Charles Laughton.
Jenny Hall, Rhythm & Rhymes (Teens Verse Workshop)
Cordelia Monsey, Shakespeare's Sonnets Workshop.
...Farewell drinks...

During October/November we also presented SHAKE Art - a selling exhibition in the Malt Room Gallery,

featuring ten local and international artists inspired by Shakespeare.

Artists: Stuart Pearson Wright, Celia Lyttelton, Paul Benney, Jenny Polak, Bill Jackson, Katrin MacGibbon, Kitty Arden, Renata Adela, Eamonn McCabe, Jenny Caron Hall

The Shakespeare Festival based in Suffolk, UK

SHAKE is a new Shakespeare Festival which began life at The Cut art centre in Halesworth, Suffolk, UK in 2019. The creative director is Jenny Hall.

The first weekend of events in 2019 revolved around workshops, films, talks with Q&A, music, poetry readings, dance, performance, and feasting!

Jenny Hall was invited to create this festival at The Cut by the late James Holloway. Since the pandemic struck, we've become creators of fully rehearsed online play readings, under the banner, SHAKE Festival Presents.

Tickets for our events and performances are available from our BOX OFFICE on Ticketsource

We owe grateful thanks to our Friends, Volunteers and Supporters: Victoria Seale Jones, Genevieve Christie, Sara Keene, Diana Hiddleston, Janine Edge, Carol and Oscar Graves-Johnston, Lysie Kihl, Julia Sowerbutts, Caroline Wiseman, Rob Gildon and Colin Tricker at Benhall Lodge Estate Office. Most of all to Peter, Sam, Aafke and Simon Raven at The Cut.

SHAKE Festival was structured as an unincorporated Community Association, generously supported by the Backstage Trust, the Golsoncott Foundation, Rodney and Zmira Hornstein, Geraldine Harmsworth, Scarfe Trust, Suffolk County Council, East Suffolk Council, The Mackintosh Foundation, Spectra Packaging, Charnwood Milling Company Ltd, Micronizing Company Ltd in Framlingham and a benefactor who wishes to remain anonymous.

In June 2021, SHAKE FESTIVAL CIC was registered at Companies House as a Community Interest Company. Our Directors are Jenny Hall, Aafke Groeneveld, Dame Harriet Walter, Geraldine James OBE and Alys Kihl. Our CIC company number is 13459942

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