Shakespeare returns to Middle Temple Hall

Published June 14, 2011

Theatre company Antic Disposition is planning to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the first performance of The Tempest in style, with a new production at an Elizabethan venue where Shakespeare’s own company once performed.

Staged at London’s imposing Middle Temple Hall, The Tempest, which will run from 20 August to 3 September, is directed by Antic Disposition’s Artistic Directors Ben Horslen and John Risebero, the team behind past shows including The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe and The Importance Of Being Earnest.

The Tempest was first performed for King James I at Whitehall Palace in 1611. One of Shakespeare’s most magical plays, it is also believed to be his last. Set on a mysterious island, the banished Duke of Milan, busy plotting revenge on those who have wronged him, finds himself with company when the King of Naples is shipwrecked.

Antic Disposition specialises in creating imaginative productions of classic plays and stories, often setting them in unusual spaces. Middle Temple Hall provides such a location, nestled in London’s leafy legal quarter. A working law institution, Middle Temple Hall was build in 1573 and the first ever performance of Shakespeare’s comedy Twelfth Night took place in the venue in 1602.

Director Horslen said: “We’re thrilled to be presenting The Tempest at Middle Temple Hall in the play’s 400th anniversary year. We’ve staged Shakespeare in all kinds of unusual spaces, from derelict churches to picturesque French villages, but creating a production for an original Elizabethan venue – and one in which Shakespeare’s own company actually performed – is an exciting new challenge.”

CM