Shakespeare and the Alchemy of Gender

Lisa Wolpe as Iago with LA Women's Shakespeare Company

Lisa Wolpe as Iago with LA Women’s Shakespeare Company

Shakespeare and the Alchemy of Gender

Thursday, 9th July 2015
at 6PM

Anatomy Lecture Theatre 6th Floor King’s Building Strand Campus
Please see the Kings College website for directions to the Strand Campus.

This event is free and open to all, but booking is required via the Kings College website.

The 50-minute performance will be followed by a presentation and Q&A regarding the performance of gender in Shakespeare.

 

Visionary theatre artist Lisa Wolpe’s new solo show Shakespeare and the Alchemy of Gender offers a unique celebration of the enchanting power of cross-gender Shakespeare. Over the past 20 years of work with the Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company, Ms. Wolpe has played more of the Bard’s male roles than any woman in history, always to superlative reviews.

An activist as well as a celebrated actress and director, Wolpe’s work speaks toward liberation from the “gender box” of expectations, and offers a unique and powerful perspective of courage, resilience and hope against her family’s background of war, suicide and despair.

 

Lisa Wolpe is an international activist working for the empowerment of women and diversity on the stage. Since 1993 she has been the Founding Producing Artistic Director of the all-female Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company (22 seasons), where she produces, directs, and has performed roles including Hamlet, Richard III, Angelo, Leontes, Romeo, Shylock, and Iago.  Lisa is currently touring her solo show Shakespeare & the Alchemy of Gender to venues around the world. She has directed and acted regionally at theaters including Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Berkeley Repertory Company, Shakespeare & Company, Arizona Theater Company, San Diego Repertory Theater, and more. She is a teacher/writer/actor/director who has studied deeply in Clown, Voice, Shakespearean text, and new work, and has received multiple awards for excellence in Directing, Acting, and promoting diversity and excellence onstage. She has taught and directed at universities including UCLA, USC, Cal Poly Pomona, Whittier College, ACT San Francisco, Boston University, MIT, the American Shakespeare Center, University of Colorado, and more.

L.A. Women’s Shakespeare Co.: www.lawsc.net

 

Lisa Wolpe will also be performing her solo show at the Rose Playhouse in London, July 14th to 26th. Book tickets here.

Shakespeare and Gender: explorational workshop with Lisa Wolpe

  • Thursday, July 9, 6PM – 9PM at Kings College London
  • Friday, July 10, 10AM – 6PM at King College London
  • Monday, July 13, 10AM – 6PM at the Young Vic Theatre
  • Thursday, July 16, 10AM – 1PM at the Young Vic Theatre
  • Monday, July 20, 10AM – 1PM at the Young Vic Theatre
Lisa Wolpe as Iago with LA Women's Shakespeare Company

Lisa Wolpe as Iago with LA Women’s Shakespeare Company

This project is intended to open up new areas of exploration in Shakespearean interpretation, including gender-bending (playing cross-gender, as in a woman playing “Hamlet” or a man playing “Juliet”), re-gendering (as in a woman playing “Prospera” as a female character), and gender-blending (as in Trans actors playing any role in the Shakespeare canon). Directors and actors are invited to explore new questions of identity while working through Shakespeare’s texts.

A select group of directors will join a select company of actors in exploring short scenes from Shakespeare, assigned by the workshop leaders, in order to support and explore a diversity of interpretations of Shakespearean performance. An ensemble of actors featuring gay, straight, male, female, trans, multicultural artists will be included in a series of workshop explorations. It is possible to join the project as a director who also participates as an actor.

This work will offer a creative forum for the exploration of violence, victimization, power, love, race, and gender issues using Shakespeare’s quintessential texts as a basis for study as one explores a character in a gender less familiar than your own. Participants will examine the complicated terrain of gender, socio-political power, agency and artistic voice, working through experiential personal exploratory work, guided group improvisation and directorial interpretation.

Men and women and all genders are welcome; LGBTQ participants are welcome; multiculturality and diversity in age range are welcome.

If you are interested in participating as an actor, please apply here by midday on Friday 12th June.

Please note the above link is for actors and dramaturgs only. Directors wishing to participate must be part of the Young Vic Directors’ Programme and should follow the link in the invitation they will have received via email.

Conceived and directed by Lisa Wolpe, this project is made possible through the Young Vic Directors Programme as a Peer Led Project initiated by Amy Clare Tasker, in collaboration with the London Shakespeare Centre and Kings College London.

Sessions will be led by Lisa Wolpe, Christine Adaire, and Daron Oram.

Lisa Wolpe is an international activist working for the empowerment of women and diversity on the stage. Since 1993 she has been the Founding Producing Artistic Director of the all-female Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company (22 seasons), where she produces, directs, and has performed roles including Hamlet, Richard III, Angelo, Leontes, Romeo, Shylock, and Iago.  Lisa is currently touring her solo show Shakespeare & the Alchemy of Gender to venues around the world. She has directed and acted regionally at theaters including Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Berkeley Repertory Company, Shakespeare & Company, Arizona Theater Company, San Diego Repertory Theater, and more. She is a teacher/writer/actor/director who has studied deeply in Clown, Voice, Shakespearean text, and new work, and has received multiple awards for excellence in Directing, Acting, and promoting diversity and excellence onstage. She has taught and directed at universities including UCLA, USC, Cal Poly Pomona, Whittier College, ACT San Francisco, Boston University, MIT, the American Shakespeare Center, University of Colorado, and more.

Christine Adaire is a Designated Master Linklater Voice Teacher, trained by the world renowned voice teacher Kristin Linklater. She has worked as an actor, voice coach and director in many American regional theatres, including: Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Old Globe (San Diego), Milwaukee Repertory, The Guthrie Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare, Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf, Court Theatre, American Players Theatre, Theatre for a New Audience (NYC), Shakespeare Santa Cruz and Shakespeare & Company (Lenox, MA). She has coached the dialects for the Broadway production and First North American Tour of MARY POPPINS. Ms. Adaire has taught at DePaul University, National Theatre School of Canada, University of Massachusetts-Amherst and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Sheʼs taught workshops in Shanghai, Barcelona, Madrid, Australia, New Zealand and Birmingham, England. Currently she is a Professor in the Theatre Conservatory at the Chicago Conservatory of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.

Daron Oram teaches all aspects of voice, text and dialect on the actor training programme at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. He also teaches Freeing the Natural Voice work to MA and MFA students training to be voice teachers on Central’s world-renowned voice teacher training programme, of which, his is also an alumni. He also supports and trains potential Linklater teacher trainees on their path towards the designation process. Daron coaches professional actors and has worked on productions with the RSC and in London’s West End. Prior to becoming a voice teacher Daron spent a number of years working as an actor and director.

Amy Clare Tasker is a producer, director, writer, and performer. She is a cofounder of London’s GAP Salon (Gender and Performance) which aims to connect, sustain and inspire artists and advocates working for gender equality.

BAFTA Craft Masterclass: Why Don’t More Women Write for TV?

In addition to our monthly meetings, GAP Salon members are often out and about at other events related to gender equality and representation. On Friday, 17 January, 2014, Amy Clare Tasker was at the Institut Francais for their BAFTA Craft Masterclass: Why Don’t More Women Write for TV. Here are some highlights.

Panel: Paula Milne, Virginie Brac, Emma Reeves
Moderated by: Amy Raphael

Paula Milne has been doing panels like this one for 20 years. We should progress this argument now. It’s not the right question to ask, “Why are there no women writers?” They are here. The question now is, “How do women engage with this industry, as writers, as directors, as actors? And how is the industry skewed towards men?”

Virginie Brac noted that in France, there are a few women writers, but virtually no women directors. It’s partially an issue of confidence: women writers and directors are not trusted [by those in hiring positions]. Executives do not have confidence that a woman can do the job as well as a man [who likely has more experience].

Paula Milne: I never write treatments. I go in and pitch in person, because I know what they really want is to think, “oh good, she knows what’s she’s doing; we don’t need to worry about her.” If you don’t have confidence in your work, they won’t have confidence in you. It’s all about trust in those relationships.

Paula Milne: Women write male characters differently; we write them as we see them.

Virginie Brac: I write male characters as I would like men to be. I feel more comfortable with female characters.

Virginie Brac: [regarding working with patronising older men] There comes a point when you can’t teach them life, you can’t give them your world view. If you can choose your collaborators, don’t work with them again.

Emma Reeves: Quite often, you don’t get to choose your collaborators. But as you progress in your career, you do get more control, as you gain trust.

Paula Milne: If you want total control, write a novel.

Paula Milne: Female directors have a big problem trying to have a family, since so much of the work involves long periods of travel.

Paula Milne: I don’t do lunches. Writing takes at least 5 hours of uninterrupted work time.

Paula Milne: You have to defend your talent as if it were a friend you don’t want to let down.

Prevailing advice from all three panelists: KEEP GOING.