Bottom (Matthew Barker) and Titania (Kim Voisey-Youldon) at Royal Derby Hospital © 1623

Our productions are collections of scenes from Shakespeare's plays, adaptations of his work and new work inspired by him.

We are developing our major new production Lear/Cordelia, a double-bill that includes an adaptation of King Lear set in a modern care home and a new play - based on participatory research into Shakespeare's play in the context of dementia - from the viewpoint of Cordelia, Lear's youngest daughter.

For details of our plans for Lear/Cordelia, please click here.

A selection of our current productions are detailed below. Please talk to us about a bespoke Shakespeare production for your venue. Production costs start at £450.

Please Contact us to get the ball rolling.




Victoria Brazier Regan
David Henry Lear
Samantha Hopkins Goneril
Gemma Paige North Cordelia
Farrah Chaudhry Cordelia playwright
Eleanor Field Set and costume designer
Louie Ingham Cordelia director and dramaturg
Glenn Millington Marketing designer
Darius Powell Digital artist
Ben Spiller Lear director and dramaturg
Kate Wood Assistant director
Christopher Lydon Producer and composer
Sam Thorogood Production assistant
Sarah Gatford BSL interpreter
Front Seat Media Set construction
Pilot Theatre Livestreaming partner


: Regan

Victoria BrazierTheatre includes: Multi-Story (Monkeywood Theatre), Beauty and the Beast and Oliver Twist (The Dukes), The Borrowers (New Vic Theatre), We're Not Going Back (Red Ladder), A Great War (JB Shorts), Charlotte's Web: The Musical (Watershed Productions), The Rocking Horse Winner and The Prisoner of Zenda (North Country Theatre), Twelfth Night (Cottongrass Theatre), French Fancies (Two Friends Productions), Deck the Hall and All's Well that Ends Well (Demi-Paradise Productions at Lancaster Castle), Hobson's Choice (The Royal Exchange) and The Borrowers (Watershed Theatre Company at the West Yorkshire Playhouse).

Television includes: All at Sea (CBBC), Doctors, Craven, Land Girls and The Street (BBC), Heading Out (Red Productions), Hollyoaks (Lime Productions), Boy A (Channel Four) and Coronation Street and Vincent (ITV).

Radio includes: New Grub Street, Home Front, Deadheading, Sense and Sensibility, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, Angel Pavement, Writing the Century Everyone Quite Likes Justin, Cottonopolis, Bell in the Ball, Mr Maugham's Journey Home, The Crowded Street, Second Chances, Dido, The River Girls and Sophie (Radio Four); Tyre, The House of Bernarda Alba and Early Music Show (Radio Three) and Shakespeare (BBC Learning).

Before going to drama school, Victoria read English Literature at the University of Cambridge, where she wrote her final dissertation on Shakespeare. She has an MA in Shakespeare and Performance from the Shakespeare Institute (University of Birmingham). She co-produced a series of Shakespeare recordings for BBC Learning and contributed articles on Shakespeare and Anthony Burgess to the website of the Anthony Burgess Foundation.


: Lear

David HenryDavid's theatre credits include: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Palladium), King Oedipus (Nuffield Theatre), Man Who Came To Dinner (Chichester), The Tempest & Bartholemew Fair (RSC), Coriolanus (West Yorkshire Playhouse & Mermaid Theatre), True West (Donmar Warehouse and West Yorkshire Playhouse), Someone Who'll Watch Over Me (West Yorkshire Playhouse), The Madness Of King George III & Carousel (RNT) and Enemy Of The People (Young Vic and West Yorkshire Playhouse).

David's Television credits include: The Life and Adventures of Nick Nickleby, Hustle, Waking The Dead, Touching Evil, Absolutely Fabulous & For The Greater Good (BBC), Midsomer Murders & Bad Girls (ITV), Kavanagh QC (Carlton) and Poirot (London Weekend).

David's Film credits include: Ali G Indahouse, Still Crazy, Evita & Cry Freedom.

For more information on David please visit

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: Goneril

Samantha HopkinsSamantha grew up in the West Midlands and trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts (B.A. Acting). She has recently worked as understudy/ASM on two national tours with the acclaimed Touring Consortium Theatre Company; Brave New World (Royal & Derngate) and Of Mice & Men (Birmingham Rep.) She was an original cast member in 360’s large-scale production of Peter Pan, which played in Kensington Gardens and at the O2 before touring in America. Her other theatre credits include Viola in Twelfth Night, Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Elizabeth Bennet in Pride & Prejudice (Chapterhouse Theatre Company), The Queen of England in The BFG (Trinity Theatre), Joan Ruddock in When Charlie Met Joan (Write By Numbers), Mira in Pluto (Mokita Grit Productions) and Gemma in Involution (Mokita Productions).

She is a founding member of The Watermark Collective, a group of actors who provide a table-reading service for script writers. The company has developed an excellent reputation within the writing community and has worked with writers from The Royal Court writing programme and the London Screenwriter's Festival competition.

Samantha’s screen work includes short film Cancer Hair, which won a number of awards at UK Film Festivals, including Best of Fest at the Isle of Man Film Festival and the IMDB award at Bath Film Festival. Her other short film credits include Dulcie in The Most Important Question You Will Ever Ask, DCI Alice Greaves in Saucy Butty and the Nurse in The Violinist.

Twitter: @SamHopkinsActor


: Cordelia

Gemma Paige NorthGemma trained at Bretton Hall. Her television credits include No Offence (C4), The A Word (BBC), In The Club (BBC), Ye Olde Dragons’ Den (CBBC), The Syndicate (BBC), The Accused (BBC), Emmerdale (ITV), Doctors (BBC), Shameless (C4) & Coronation Street (ITV).

Gemma’s previous Shakespeare roles include Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing & Portia in The Merchant of Venice at Lancaster Castle. She has also performed theatre roles at The Dukes, The Lowry, Monkeywood Theatre and Shred Productions, where Gemma is an Associate Artist.

Gemma is one half of comedy double-act Saints of Humour, who write and perform live sketches, comedy films and sitcoms. Their latest sitcom pilot Vigilantes was shortlisted for Co-filmic’s Best Pilot Taster.

Gemma is passionate about new writing and Shakespeare, so she is very excited to be part of such an exciting project with 1623, which celebrates both loves.


: Cordelia playwright

Farrah ChaudhryFarrah started writing in her teens and since then storytelling has been her passion. Reviewed by the Birmingham Post as a ‘writer to watch’, she has enjoyed several notable achievements and recognition for her work. A graduate of the Royal Court and Birmingham REP Foundry, Farrah has had work showcased both in the UK and overseas, being selected to take part in new writing festivals, an international playwrights exchange and scratch nights. Farrah recently got commissioned by Birmingham based organisation, Grain, to create a fictitious newspaper inspired by archived photos in the Public Works Collection at the Library of Birmingham. She has also turned her skills to TV, having worked in the story offices of popular soaps Coronation Street and Hollyoaks. Farrah is an Associate Artist at 1623 Theatre Company, where she has been commissioned to write one half of the double-bill Lear/Cordelia, and is currently a storyline writer for Tanglin, a daily drama in Singapore.


: Set and costume designer

Eleanor Field

Since graduating from RADA’s postgraduate theatre design course in 2011, Eleanor has worked on a variety of theatre projects including: the UK tour of Amateur Girl with Fifth Word Theatre Company, Man To Man at The Mercury, Colchester and The Park Theatre, London, a new translation of Brecht’s Fear And Misery titled Hitler’s People directed by Stephen Unwin, and a delightfully muddy show: For The Little People with Caroline Horton at Latitude Festival, with whom she is also working on a current project The Possibility of Future Splendour. She has just designed the mainstage Youth Theatre shows at Derby Theatre, Spoonface Steinberg and I am England.

Since 2012 Eleanor has returned to RADA as a visiting professional, designing the Shakespeare School’s Tours which include Taming of the Shrew, Much Ado About Nothing, Pericles, Merry Wives of Windsor, Othello, and, this year, Macbeth with Nancy Meckler and Cymbeline with Told By An Idiot’s Paul Hunter.

Eleanor has also just designed a set of three windows for Selfridges, London, entitled ‘The Ruff Re-Imagined’ as part of their Shakespeare 400 celebrations.

See her full portfolio at


: Cordelia director and dramaturg

Louie InghamBiography coming soon...


: Marketing designer

Glenn MillingtonBiography coming soon...


: Digital artist

Darius Powell

Darius is a digital artist and creative technologist based at Derby QUAD and an associate artist with 1623 Theatre Company. Although initially starting his career in film and video production, Darius had built up a spectrum of skills and knowledge in the fields of digital production and participation including projection mapping, animation, augmented reality and interactive art.

As an associate artist with 1623, Darius has co-developed a series of productions utilising digital artforms as part of the creative process.

For the first half of Lear/Cordelia, Darius has built upon the company's collective research and utilised the art form of projection mapping, to aid in the visualisation of Lear's dementia.


: Lear director and dramaturg

Ben Spiller

Ben is passionate about Shakespeare. He loves inspiring, surprising and affecting people with the playwright's innovative language, vibrant characters and exciting sense of performance.

Working as artistic director of award-winning 1623 theatre company - based at QUAD, Derby's thriving arts centre - gives Ben the opportunity to put his passion into practice and share it with other people. 

Further to working with professional artists on Shakespearean productions in locations ranging from a cave to a shopping centre, Ben has facilitated Shakespeare workshops and discussions with people aged from five to 100 at all levels of ability and in various contexts. These include young people and adults with special educational needs, school teachers on their INSET days, people affected by dementia, business managers in professional development workshops and members of the public in regular Shakespeare-based workshops and discussions.

Ben graduated from the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance at the University of Warwick in 2001, when he was awarded MA (Distinction) in European Renaissance Culture. While at the centre, he developed his keen interest in Shakespeare by exploring the playwright's work in a European context, both practically and theoretically.

Before this, he gained BA (Honours) in Theatre and Performance Studies, also at Warwick, where he was president of the award-winning WUDS (Warwick University Drama Society) with whom he directed and produced stage productions at Warwick Arts Centre and beyond including the National Student Drama Festival, where WUDS won Best Production.

Directing credits include: A Midsummer Night's Dream (Barefeet Theatre); Lear/dementia (Derby Theatre Studio); Troilus and Cressida (London 2012 World Shakespeare Festival); Emergency Shakespeare (Watch This Space at the National Theatre); Shakespeare's Summer of Love (Glastonbury Festival); Sinful Shakespeare (RSC Complete Works Festival Fringe); The Winter's Tale (Joseph Wright Festival); Ha Ha Shakespeare (QUAD); Midsummer Magic (World Heritage Festival); Ellen Terry - Shakespeare's Leading Lady (National Trust); Romeo and Juliet (Vintage Festival at the Royal Festival Hall); Macbeth (Derwent Valley Mills Discovery Festival); Hamlet (Buxton Festival Fringe at Poole's Cavern); and scenes from Richard IIIMuch Ado About Nothing and The Tempest (Shakespeare for Schools DVD).

Acting credits include: Petruchio in Pop-Up Shakespeare (Bulwell Festival), Falstaff in Shakespeare's Summer of Love (Glastonbury Festival), Shakespeare in The Course of True LoveStand-Up Shakespeare and on walkabout (1623 on tour), Hecat in Sinful Shakespeare and Macbeth (1623 on tour), and The Miller in The Canterbury Tales (Distraction Theatre).

Dramaturgical (scripting) credits include: Troilus and CressidaThe Course of True LoveSinful ShaXXXpeareStand-Up ShakespeareRomeo and JulietEmergency ShakespeareMacbethEllen Terry - Shakespeare's Leading LadyThe Winter's TaleHa Ha Shakespeare; Midsummer MagicThe Merchant of VeniceMuch Ado About Nothing; and Supernatural Shakespeare.

Publication credits include: articles in Shakespeare BulletinEarly Modern Literary Studies and theRenaissance Journal; and an essay on Henry VI Part 1 in Goddesses and Queens: the iconographies of Elizabeth I, edited by Annaliese Connolly and Lisa Hopkins for Palgrave Macmillan.

Workshop and teaching credits include: Shakespeare theatre and literature courses at the Universities of Oxford, Warwick and Nottingham; Shakespeare film courses and introductions at QUAD; and facilitating Shakespeare workshops in schools, colleges, universities, theatres and youth theatres across the UK including West Yorkshire Playhouse, Buxton Opera House, Derby Theatre and the National Youth Theatre.

Awards include: BAFTA for Children's Digital Learning; Creative Industries Network Award for Best Live Event; and the London 2012 Inspire Mark for The Great Shakespearean Workout. Nominations include Best Production for Hamlet at Buxton Festival Fringe.

Other experiences include: co-director of Still Cursing photography project with SHOW ME PICTURES; board member of Surtal Arts; mentor with Arts Emergency; regional judge of the BBC's Off By Heart Shakespeare schools competition; chair of Derby Independent Theatre Network; assistant performing arts officer at Arts Council England; and A-level examiner for Drama, Theatre Studies and English Literature.

In 2014, Ben directed a research-and-development project that explored King Lear in the context of dementia. Supported by Arts Council England, Derbyshire County Council, Derby Theatre, QUAD and the University of Derby, this was 1623's most ambitious project to date.

Earlier this year (2016), Ben directed A Midsummer Night's Dream with Barefeet Theatre in Lusaka, Zambia, as part of the British Council's Shakespeare Lives project that explored the world-wide legacy of Shakespeare and his work 400 years after his death. This new interpretation of the play brought together Shakespearean text, new writing, Zambian drumming and energetic dancing to share the dream of a Lusakan street child. 

 Later this year, Ben will direct the first half of Lear/Cordelia, a new double-bill of Shakespearean adaptation and new writing based on the recent research into King Lear and dementia. 


: Assistant director

Kate WoodKate is a recent graduate from the University of Derby. She studied on the Theatre Arts course and greatly enjoyed her time within the theatre and engaging with extracurricular activities which included both acting and directing. In her second year of the course she found her love of directing and subsequently applied for the position of assistant director to Sarah Brigham for The Odyssey, for which she was successful. She did this as part of her course and she found it both an unforgettable and thrilling experience. In the third year of her course, she performed in the sold-out A Clockwork Orange, at Derby Theatre, multi rolling with her cast mates over 30 roles in total. It was a project that the students designed, acted in, directing, marketed and produced independently and was one of the most daring pieces Kate has been involved with. Since graduating she have undertaken several directing opportunities which include shows for charity balls, commissioned site specific exhibition pieces at Elvaston Castle and touring pantomimes.


: Producer and composer

Christopher Lydon

Christopher is creative producer of 1623, deputy head of support at the National Youth Orchestra, education associate at the Halle orchestra, and a freelance musician and database developer.

He has been part of 1623 since 2006, when he recorded the sound for a schools video of Shakespeare scenes before he composed, played and recorded music for scenes from Richard III, Much Ado About Nothing and The Tempest the following year.

Since then, he has composed music for 1623's Macbeth at Derby Silk Mill, Hamlet at Poole's Cavern, Midsummer Magic and Shakespeare's Summer of Love at the Glastonbury Festival, and Romeo and Juliet at the Joseph Wright Gallery.

In 2012, he produced 1623's Great Shakespearean Workout as part of Igniting Ambition - London 2012 Cultural Olympiad in the Midlands - with support from Derbyshire County Council.

The following year, he produced 1623's ACE-funded research-and-development project that explored King Lear in the context of dementia through participatory research. Christopher's producing skills were developed further on the Progress II course with Cultivate East Midlands, where he took part in a series of masterclasses on organisational development including project management, budgeting, governance, safeguarding and developing collaborations.

His other major passion is teaching music-making to people in prisons as part of a long-running rehabilitation programme with the Halle orchestra.


: Production assistant

Sam Thorogood

I’m a recent graduate from Warwick University (English and Theatre) with a long-held love for Shakespeare. I’m especially excited when his plays are torn apart, reconsidered and pieced back together, which is why this project excites me so much. In my final year at Warwick, I had the pleasure of taking a Shakespeare module which allowed scope for non-traditional interpretations and usages of Shakespearean drama. For example, I wrote my exam on Shakespeare and national identity, with particular reference to the 2012 Olympic celebrations. I also produced a creative project for my coursework which fused Hunter S. Thompson’s Gonzo journalism with the quick-witted parlance of Thersites in Troilus and Cressida.

Alongside my studies at secondary school, sixth form college and university, I have got involved with a wide range of theatrical projects: playing Hamlet, co-directing a show at the National Student Drama Festival and facilitating youth theatre classes to name a few. I have also been an intern at London’s Finborough Theatre, run a workshop with a group of prisoners and acted in three Edinburgh Fringe shows: a piece about human statues in 2013, a parody of horror tropes in 2015 and an offbeat drama set in an alternative reality in 2016. The latter two shows were under the Clown Funeral banner. This theatre company, formed from Warwick students, is committed to devising work from unusual stimuli in a playful style. The 2016 Edinburgh Fringe show, The Murderer, is currently being developed for a tour in 2017.


: BSL interpreter

Sarah Gatford

I have over 20 years experience as a BSL/English interpreter. I started my career working in education at both Further and Higher Education levels. I then went on to work in the community, which amongst other areas is where I started to work in theatre. Having qualified from Durham University with a Post Graduate Advanced Diploma in BSL/English interpreting, I went on to work in a freelance capacity. My theatre work has taken me all over the UK and I run workshops to inspire others who have an interest in working in the theatre and enjoy engaging with theatre creatives to enhance their work by offering audits and workshops focusing on access and inclusion.

My work in theatre has led me to develop and produce two visual theatre shows specifically for Deaf and Autistic young people on the topic of internet safety – the WISE project. We will be taking them on tour in Spring 2017.

I run my own interpreting, consultancy and training business, have two teenage daughters and an extremely supportive partner who also has two daughters. Life is busy and full of exciting challenges.

I am very excited to be working with 1623 and Pilot theatre on this pioneering project. Ensuring performances are accessible to the Deaf community is taking an extremely important step for such work, breaking down barriers and seeing communication as key to working with people in all areas of society.

Sarah Gatford


: Set construction

Frontseat Media was founded out of the necessity to offer high-quality production support to small and medium-scale theatre and live performance in the UK. We specialised in sited, site-specific and touring work as well as undertaking more traditional projects.

From these beginnings, we now work with projects of all sizes, delivering management, creative solutions, expert staffing and equipment hire.

We pride ourselves on the art and events that we are involved in and are dedicated to well-planned, professional work that can make these possible.

We like happy artists and audiences.



: Livestreaming partner

Pilot Theatre is one of the UK’s leading touring theatre companies. Our vision is to produce work that sparks passion and ignites debate across the globe through our performances and digital networks.

We create pioneering contemporary work celebrating diversity in all its forms with particular relevance to young people and the issues they face in their lives. We nurture emergent talent and aspiring artists from all walks of life and give them the opportunity to share their voice and their art with the world.

We are based at York Theatre Royal, and have been since 2002. We are one of very few national touring mid-scale companies to be based outside London and are therefore able to offer unique training & work opportunities for artists and young people in mid-scale touring that they may be unable to get anywhere else in the region.

Working with excellent established artists we nurture emergent talent and work with leading practitioners and diverse teams across all our platforms of delivery.



Find out about current casting opportunities with 1623.


Lear/Cordelia pilot production coming Autumn 2016 to Attenborough Arts Centre in Leicester and Derby Theatre Studio.


The Course of True LoveA selection of Shakespeare's greatest love scenes.

"The course of true love never did run smooth"
: A Midsummer Night's Dream

"Uplifting... unusual and entertaining"

British Theatre Guide


Sinful ShaXXXpeareA salacious journey through the seven deadly sins.

"Thou poisonous bunch-backed toad!"
: Richard III

"Enthralling and captivating"

Buxton Festival Guide


Stand-Up ShakespeareA comedy show starring Shakespeare's clowns and fools.

"Man is but an ass!"
: A Midsummer Night's Dream

"Hilarious... don't miss it!"

Derby Telegraph


www.unclepandarus.comOur flagship digital production is inspired by Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida.

Meet Uncle Pandarus and explore the telling of his tale.


Emergency Shakespeare!Shakespeare's scenes of peril and disaster, made better by St John Ambulance.

"There comes a fellow crying out for help!"
: Othello

"A unique take on Shakespeare"



Ellen Terry - Shakespeare's Leading LadyA celebration of the star of the Victorian theatre.

"A star danced, and under that was I born"
: Much Ado About Nothing

"Both thought-provoking and emotive"

National Trust


Midsummer MagicFairies come out to play with magical mischief on their minds.

"We’ll lead you about and round!"
: A Midsummer Night's Dream

"Beautiful production with lots of laughs too"

Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage


Star-Crossed LoversRomeo and Juliet start from the final scene of the play, rewind to their first meeting and fall in love all over again

"My only love sprung from my only hate"
: Romeo and Juliet

"Loved the intimacy and the stunning performances"

BBC Radio Derby


Book tickets


Lear/Cordelia pilot production

LEICESTER Attenborough Arts Centre
Friday 14 October, 8pm*
Saturday 15 October, 2.30pm** and 7.30pm
£10 / £7
0116 252 2455

DERBY Derby Theatre Studio
Friday 18 November, 8pm*
Saturday 19 November, 2pm** and 8pm
£10 / £8
01332 59 39 39

* BSL-interpreted performance
** Dementia-friendly performance

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