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The King’s Troupe in France

The BSA-sponsored King’s Troupe has written a short article about their adventures in France. You can download it here as a PDF, with pictures.

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To find out more about The King’s Troupe, take a look at our ‘Meet the King’s Troupe’ post.


The King’s Troupe in rural France– rehearsing & performing for ‘Comme il vous plaira’ ‘As You Like It’…une pièce de théâtre de William Shakespeare; c’est une petite comédie écrite vers 1599, peu avant Hamlet. (25/7/16 to 3/8/16)

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 ‘Shakespeare without Borders’ – doing things differently – an exceptional year

The challenge – for individuals and families to have a good summer holiday while also creating an outdoor performance for public presentation in the garden of a beautiful house just outside Fresselines in a part of France known as Le Creuse. An audience of family and friends and locals had been invited for Saturday 31st July at 6pm and most interesting of all, this would effectively be a new company, needing a new cut-down script and incorporating local French people as well. A set of some kind would be needed and all with no budget. Company members had been asked to bring scarves/material, and as luck would have it 2 other company members decided that, as they could not leave Meg their dog behind, they would have to come by van; so all kinds of things got stored in the back of their van – making a company total of 20 plus Meg who also featured in the performance (see below)!

Rehearsals in the garden at La Sagne, Fresselines

Thoughts along the way – what was really special for us as a company was making new friends, so much so that The King’s Troupe now has aspiring offshoots in Bucharest, Romania, in Fresselines, France and already for next year we have been offered accommodation for 2 weeks back in Fresselines for the whole company, or whoever can make it, to rehearse and perform a different play, again in the outdoors. Elly, ‘Jelly’ and Laurie who live there, not only loved what we did, and want to do more of it, they are the founding members of The King’s Troupe in Le Creuse! Yet again, the beauty of Shakespeare’s stories and our particularly joyous, playful and free approach to theatre-making resonate as much with children as they do with adults, and can be taken on many different levels. We are making new friends internationally, we are sowing new seeds for theatre-making with Shakespeare adaptations in different languages, and we are also laying the foundations for visits to the UK by the friends we make now and into the future.  What is also exciting about this work is its inclusivity and adaptability. We seek to respond to the environment, and those in it, wherever that may be. What is central in this process is the genius of Shakespeare’s universality. The themes are archetypal and together with people from different cultures and languages, the piece is made, and in its wake comes friendship, more understanding about differing languages and culture and a desire to do and make more wherever we go.

Performance at ‘La Sagne’, Fresselines 6pm 30th July

On a wonderfully sunny evening in rural France 20 of us performed the play creating our own Forest of Arden in a garden in the French countryside. Along the way some French children joined us to create a French and English production of the play, including music, dancing, song and a further example of making theatre wherever and whenever we can.

The King’s Troupe

Founded in 2010 and based in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, we specialise in the performance of Shakespeare. Our work is open to all and we are an amateur inter-generational company. Of 30 current members our youngest member is 2 years old and the youngest at heart is 65+. We have no audition process as all are welcome. We do not charge people to attend and we have to date self-funded all our projects. We work together collaboratively to make each piece and for the past four years have been mentored by the Royal Shakespeare Company as part of the ‘Open Stages’ project. We are passionate about theatre-making and as part of our development of Troilus & Cressida in 2014 we went to Athens and Istanbul to research Trojan and Greek mythology, including a visit to the Troy exhibition at the archaeological museum in Istanbul. This resulted in a production that was a site-specific theatrical festival that lasted a weekend involving camps of Trojan and Greek warriors. BBC Radio Leeds did an outside broadcast from the festival and representatives of the RSC came to watch in the evening. This together with our other productions and theatre training from the RSC has enabled us to grow and our ambitions have increased, especially since visiting Bucharest this year.

Above all, our work is about widening participation, theatre-making in non-traditional ways in non-traditional venues nationally and internationally, through the wonderful medium of Shakespeare and his works.

Richard & Mary Coaten

August 13th 2016

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