Macbeth (2016/2017)

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"A masterclass in performance from start to finish... top class theatre”

North West End

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"enterprising, imaginative, and highly enjoyable”

The Reviews Hub

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"The adaptation and quality of performance was exceptional"

Sandra Craggs, Drama Teacher,
Notting Hill and Ealing High School

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"Engaging, relevant, and political as ever!"

Stuart Borrill, Head of Drama,
St Margaret's School

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"Lots of practical ideas from the performance that students have started to use in their work... [It] helped students to see how accessible theatre and live performance can be."

Amanda Haylock, Head of Performing Arts & Music,
Christ the King College

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"... an established annual event at our school because we know that it is a fantastic learning experience for our Drama students."

Gry Nielsen, Head of Drama,
Burford School

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"The connection between the actors and audience and having live theatre in school is invaluable."

Jenny Plant, Head of Drama,
King Edward VI School Lichfield

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"Excellent creative interpretation of Macbeth, superbly acted"

Maria Jackson, Director of Drama,
Culford School

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"Excellent... really engaging, exciting and thought-provoking storytelling"

Jenny Webber, Head of Drama,
Kimbolton School

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"The performance was absolutely fantastic... The students have already began to 'steal' many of the ideas for their own performances."

Laura Hutt, Assistant Head-teacher & Drama teacher,
Calder High School

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"It is wonderful for our students to watch such performances in their own space and has given them many ideas for their devised work."

Alison Hackett, Head of Performing Arts,
Branston Community Academy

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"So rich and layered and so much fun and energy... The students all want to explore Brecht, Bouffons and Bells."

Malcolm Shaw, Head of Creative Faculty,
Belle Vue Girls' School

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"Excellent... unexpectedly comic and totally captivating."

Fiona Mikel, Promotions Officer,
The Beacon Theatre

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"Most of my students have never been to the theatre before and now want to go again."

Ann McMinn, Drama teacher,
Failsworth School

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  Genevieve Say, Scott Smith and Mark Beirne in Splendid’s 2016 production of Macbeth (photos: Lewis Wileman)

Splendid Productions present their first stab at Shakespeare with an hour-long creative adaptation of Macbeth.

A dagger-sharp cast of three take down Shakespeare’s classic tale of ambition, betrayal, murder and manipulation in a boiling hell-broth of tragedy, comedy, physical theatre and song.

Theatre tour poster design: Ben Hales

Splendid Productions’ ‘Macbeth’
Toured Sept 2016 – March 2017
Written by: William Shakespeare
Adapted by: Kerry Frampton
Directed by: Kerry Frampton, Matt Wilde
Songs by: Kerry Frampton, Ben Hales
Design by: Kerry Frampton
Costume by: Christine Frampton & Kerry Frampton
Fight Direction: Genevieve Say
British Sign Language Expert: Rachel Ellis

Cast & Characters

Scott Smith: Bouffon, Macbeth, Servant, Lord
Genevieve Say:  Bouffon, Lady Macbeth, Malcolm, Servant
Mark Beirne: Bouffon, Banquo, Duncan, Macduff, Doctor, Servant

with thanks to:
Meriel Pym for costume gloop excellence, John Carter, Cordelia Stevenson and Corelli College Staff and students.

More about Macbeth

Macbeth DVD
£35
Macbeth script
£15
Macbeth Education Pack
£12
Macbeth Super Pack
£55

“The adaptation and quality of performance was exceptional”
Sandra Craggs, Drama Teacher, Notting Hill and Ealing High School

“Engaging, relevant, and political as ever! Always guaranteed to bring accessible, engaging and challenging theatre that is relevant to their audiences.”
Stuart Borrill, Head of Drama, St Margaret’s School

read more…

“The adaptation and quality of performance was exceptional… The teacher pack was superb for helping students in their written responses for the new GCSE exam. The Q & A after the performance was clear, engaging and informative.”
Sandra Craggs, Drama Teacher, Notting Hill and Ealing High School

“Engaging, relevant, and political as ever! Always guaranteed to bring accessible, engaging and challenging theatre that is relevant to their audiences.”
Stuart Borrill, Head of Drama, St Margaret’s School

“Very engaging and fully appropriate to the age and ability of the students. Pitched exactly right!… The professionalism of the actors and then enthusiasm and general work ethic of the whole company cannot be faulted… Lots of practical ideas from the performance that students have started to use in their work. Also workshop discussion points have helped in students working methods. helped students to see how accessible theatre and live performance can be.”
Amanda Haylock, Head of Performing Arts & Music, Christ the King College

“I learnt a lot of theatrical techniques which I will take into my devised lessons. I loved how minimalistic the production was and the use of mime / music.”
Maddie Coombe, Drama Teaching Assistant, Monkton Combe School

“As always, you delivered – and then some! Both the performance and the workshop will be useful for exam and controlled assessment preparation for our students across Key Stages 4 & 5… The most valuable part of the session was having professionals teaching the students rehearsal strategies which they can apply to their practical work. I also enjoyed watching the enthusiasm evident in all students who took part… It is an established annual event at our school because we know that it is a fantastic learning experience for our Drama students.”
Gry Nielsen, Head of Drama, Burford School

“The performance was brilliant! It was extremely engaging. We loved the way in which you explored the relationships, how you used song to communicate the murders and the use of costume was fascinating.The workshops were fantastic at getting the students to work cooperatively in teams and to get them out of their comfort zone… For both KS4 and 5 the students have to write about a live play and this performance and workshop gave them ideas about how Macbeth could be performed to a contemporary audience and how Brechtian and design elements have been used… The connection between the actors and audience and having live theatre in school is invaluable.”
Jenny Plant, Head of Drama, King Edward VI School Lichfield

“Having a company come in and show the students a good example of a Brechtian performance really helped with the students understanding of his work.”
Catherine Weaver, Drama Teacher, Gillotts School

“A brilliant adaptation of Macbeth that captured the play brilliantly from some new angles. This is fantastic for generating discussions about the issues it drew out as well as inspiring our students in the creation of their own work and is excellent for analysis for their A level theatre response exam… The discussion about the play was productive and turned into some practical exercises that we can develop in class. The students loved working with the performer they had just seen and understand the thought processes that actors undertake when tackling and adapting text.”
Sarah Waterman, Subject Area Manager for Performance & Film, Palmer’s College

“…engaging, entertaining and immersive! The pupils loved it! Many of them commented on the fact that it made Shakespeare accessible. Lots of them were expecting traditional Shakespeare, and were therefore extremely grateful for something so vibrant and fun…For Drama it highlighted a range of theatrical techniques and style. Our year 11 pupils will be writing about it for their Drama exam; it has given them plenty to write about. The education pack is very useful too. For the English classes, it provided an engaging and accessible version of Macbeth…The Drama pupils witnessing the level of detail, energy and therefore rehearsal which goes into polishing and preparing a production. Also, the creativity one can have with Shakespeare.”
Leo Cox, Head of Performance Faculty, Ormiston Sudbury Academy

“Excellent creative interpretation of Macbeth, superbly acted… brings another dimension in that you come from a purely practical basis which is free from exam confines so it adds a different depth – very valuable to the pupils. Uses what they posess rather than imposing on them… Great stuff.”
Maria Jackson, Director of Drama, Culford School

“We have taken students to see Splendid performances at the Pleasance Theatre in Islington before and have found the work you create to bring to life key theoretical ideas in a way that is accessible and easy for students to understand/imitate. We also use your DVDs within our teaching. Having a performance in the school is incredibly convenient compared to the amount of work generated by taking a large number of students on a theatre visit.”
Katie Field, Head of Drama, Isaac Newton Academy

“Excellent adaptation of Macbeth, really engaging, exciting and thought-provoking storytelling… Excellent for those who are devising to see original ways of storytelling, and for the Year 11s who are preparing for a scripted performance to see ways of creating strong characters and how much physical commitment is needed.”
Jenny Webber, Head of Drama, Kimbolton School

“The performance in particular supports the written exam for the new GCSE and the new A Level where they need to write about Live Theatre. This provides easy access to inventive work without expensive travel to the theatre.”
Sally Foley, Head of Faculty, Chelmsford County High School for Girls

“The performance was absolutely fantastic. True to Splendid style – engaging – inspiring. The students have already began to ‘steal’ many of the ideas for their own performances. Great opportunities for audience interactions and a brilliant hook into Shakespeare for students… The teachers resource pack was very very useful for A level teaching.”
Laura Hutt, Assistant Head-teacher & Drama teacher, Calder High School

“… can you pass on our thanks to the actors, they really were amazing and the students had a wonderful morning. They’re all really buzzing with ideas and positivity about their own work.”
Mark Oakshott, Head of Drama, All Hallows Catholic School

“Our students have been inspired by the fabulous performance of Macbeth, your team perform with such energy. It is wonderful for our students to watch such performances in their own space and has given them many ideas for their devised work. The workshops were exactly what both groups needed! Looking forward to next year already.”
Alison Hackett, Head of Performing Arts, Branston Community Academy

“We all loved your Macbeth…So rich and layered and so much fun and energy. The students all want to explore Brecht, Bouffons and Bells.”
Malcolm Shaw, Head of Creative Faculty, Belle Vue Girls’ School

“The show was really excellent, as was the post-show discussion. We have had some great feedback from both the schools and the general public, who found the show unexpectedly comic and totally captivating.”
Fiona Mikel, Promotions Officer, The Beacon

“Absolutely amazing! Accessible, engaging and really good fun. My students, age range from Year 8 to Year 11 loved it and were totally engrossed. Most of my students have never been to the theatre before and now want to go again.”
Ann McMinn, Drama teacher, Failsworth School

Press on Macbeth

… A masterclass in performance from start to finish… top class theatre””
North West EndRead the whole review…
Macbeth, The Lowry, Salford, 17 November 2016
Reviewed by North West End


I like Shakespeare. I also particularly like Macbeth. I have seen numerous versions of the play, some excellent, some less so, but all featuring significant sized casts, sets, props and all the usual “gumpf” that goes with a production. So, to say that I was a little dubious about a three handed production of this play to be performed in one act inside an hour.

Upon arriving in the space, it was clear we were not going to be treated to sets or props – the stage was a bare black box with the main staging area marked by a semi-circle of rope. The cast were already on stage, interacting with the audience and “appointing” (and rapidly dispatching) leaders. Good fun, but a slightly odd introduction to a tragedy.

The three cast members (two male, one female) wore white(ish). Costume was present but nondescript. No period, no location, no idea how that would fit into the production. Oh, and they all had hats. Odd hats.

Come 8pm, and the production proper started and immediately it became clear that this would be a very different production than any that I have seen before. This was, without any doubt, a masterclass in performance from start to finish. Scenes (and dialogue) from the Bards work was interspersed with self accompanied songs and presented almost in a storyboard format with cut scenes explaining where we were headed next (making use of interesting invisible placards). Differences in character were helped either by removal of the aforementioned hats, by the addition of a red sash (the only bit of colour that appeared throughout the piece) or by physical performance – adopting posture, stance and adding accent to distinguish between, for example, Banquo and Duncan.

The physicality of the performance was exceptionally strong, particularly the fight scene between Macbeth and Macduff. Voices were clear and strong, both when in Shakespearean mode and when dropping back into more common conversational English. The cast used the space well, slipping into the rope marked stage or into the audience at ease. The ability, in a simple way, to produce emotion was strong – particularly so in the song of Lady Macduff which was chilling at the end.

A word on the performers, Scott Smith, Genevieve Say and Mark Beirne. You couldn’t separate these three in terms of strength of performance. They were all equally talented and delivered phenomenal performances. Smith carried the burden of Macbeth – something that he applied himself to throughout. The challenge of both ladies was admirably met by Say, again particularly poignant was her Lady Macduff at the point the Macduff stronghold was surprised. Beirne covered the majority of the other roles, particularly those who ended up dead, and again delivered assured performances throughout.

The production was simply staged and directed by Kerry Frampton and Matt Wilde who clearly relied on the phenomenal artistry of their actors to deliver the production without the need for technical gimmickry to deliver the story.

A thoroughly enjoyable hour of top class theatre that I can strongly recommend to anyone who can catch it on its tour. [Paul Wilson]

… Enterprising, imaginative, and highly enjoyable”
The Reviews HubRead the whole review…
Macbeth, The Lowry, Salford, 17 November 2016
Reviewed by The Reviews Hub


Splendid Productions have pared back “The Scottish Play” to an hour in length, and a cast of three, for their visit to the intimate studio setting at The Lowry. The production is squarely aimed at schools, and much of the current tour involves performances with accompanying workshops for GCSE students. The audience tonight is a similar demographic.

The educational approach creates some constraints. The production retains the most memorable dramatic set pieces, and the keynote speeches and soliloquies. But it also means that the play becomes a series of headlines with subtitles, carefully broken down into manageable chunks, and clearly defined themes. These are carefully signalled by the use of (invisible) placards, and deliberate “Expositions” of the key developments of the plot. The context is set with a preamble on choosing a leader, and there is a running commentary on the nature of leadership, in a series of asides.

The plotline of the play is followed faithfully, as Macbeth’s ambition, fuelled by the witches’ prophecies and his wife’s desires, propel the once-loyal general on a trajectory of regicide, tyranny, despair, and death. Economy dictates that the focus of the production is not dissipated by the acidic comic relief of the Porter scene, or Malcolm’s laborious testing of MacDuff’s morality and loyalty. But the essence of the play is sustained, and most of Shakespeare’s best lines are faithfully preserved and handled with due reverence. Reverence is laid aside for song treatments of some episodes including Banquo’s murder, and the slaughter of the MacDuff household to the very catchy refrain: “I’m Lady MacDuff/And I’ve had enough…” And while the form may break with the original, it still manages to capture the essence of the scene, and the piteous nature of the event.

The three actors, Scott Smith, Genevieve Say and Mark Beirne, provide an energetic ensemble performance, smoothly transitioning between roles and engaging imaginatively with the audience to conscript occasional additional players, and to involve them in the action. (The entire auditorium are commissioned to serve as trees for the march by Burnham Wood on Dunsinane.) Costumes are simple, neutral mumming outfits, flexible enough to fit all purposes; the stage is naked, but the cast does not restrict themselves to the stage level, taking the action into the auditorium to expand the playing area when necessary. The house lights are kept up throughout to affect this, and also help to de-mystify the dramatic process.

It would be easy to dismiss this production as little more than an entertaining crib for students cramming the play for exams, obviating the need to sit through the entire tragedy, while retaining the highlights. If that were all it had to commend it, it would do poor service to the play, its author, or the audience. Instead, it must be accepted as something other than Macbeth the play. Different, but still worthy in its own right, and deserving respect as a well-crafted, enterprising, imaginative, and highly enjoyable piece of theatre. If it helps to secure a few good exam grades, so much to the good. If it fires the theatrical imagination of some young souls to further explore the plays of Will Shakespeare, so much the better. [Jim Gillespie]

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