The bremer shakespeare company
Founded in 1983, the bsc’s first and foremost aim is the production of Shakespeare’s plays in repertory. In doing so, its dedication is to “the power of imagination, the exploration of poetic reality, and the hope of providing the audience with the joy of thinking, crying, laughing, judging and contradicting.” To achieve these aims it had to break quite radically with German theatrical tradition. Thus, the plays are collectively produced, no single concept straightjacketing the production, no star actor subjecting all other performers, but making provision for each actor to voice his or her very own view.
Often with a fairly bare stage or a non-realistic stage-decoration, neither theatrical illusion nor full empathy are possible, but can theatrically be toyed with. This enables the actors to closely interact with the audience, an interaction which extends beyond the auditorium with the actors selling programs, dealing with the wardrobe, showing the guests to their seats. Right from entering the theatre the audience thus becomes part and parcel of a creative process, sharing thinking and feeling, creating the play as a collective, festive event.
To present Shakespeare in this manner - Shakespeare, the popular, realist, contemporary playwright - in all his rich, contradictory variety, new German versions, cleansed of all romantic euphemisms and bowdlerisations, were needed. They were provided by the company’s own translators, Chris Alexander, Rainer Iwersen, Maik Hamburger.
In order to link all the production of Shakespeare’s plays to the present, workshops were set up, improvisations encouraged and new plays were written and produced by members of the company.
And when in 1988 the city of Bremen agreed to transform a school’s gym into a theatre, the bsc finally and at last found a home well fitted to its purposes.
The bsc has now staged 40 Shakespeare productions (some plays more than once), all plays being presented in new translations, in addition to premiering many new contemporary works. The bsc has toured nation-wide and internationally, e.g. to Finland, Poland, Austria, Estland, Italy, England, Liechtenstein and India.
In 1993, the bremer shakespeare company was privileged to present its production of Shakespeare´s The Merry Wives of Windsor on the building site of the London Globe to full and very appreciative houses. The bsc has received several distinguished awards, among them one for developing the performing arts (Förderpreis Darstellende Kunst) from the Academy of Arts in Berlin and the Gertrud Eysoldt Director´s Award.
The bsc encourages visits from schools and other interested groups to attend public rehearsals and other functions by the company. Not only does the bsc actively encourage and foster an interest in theatre, drama, and Shakespeare in young people, but company members also take time to work with students in schools and present workshops for them in the theatre. The bsc has established a policy of regular, public rehearsals for students, special groups and anyone interested in the theatre, the rehearsals being followed by discussions with members of the cast.
Since 1993 international collaboration became a more and more important part of the company’s work. Its 10th season in 1993 culminated in an international festival, called “Shakespeare & Companies”. Four companies from four continents performed seven plays by Shakespeare. In 2000, the bsc realised its first international co-production, Shakespeare’s Tempest being co-produced with the French/Indian Annette Leday/Keli Company and touring India in winter 2000. For the second international festival in 2001, „Shakespeare in Asia“, the bsc invited companies and productions from China, India and Korea.
In 2003, the bsc was invited to perform Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors at the Shakespeare Festival in Bath (GB), and in 2004 the Bath Shakespeare Festival and the bremer shakespeare company co-produced Much ado about nothing in English with a mixed cast from Bremen and Bath.
In May 2005, the company will co-produce a project, entitled „Tower of Babel“, with the ACCO Theatre from Haifa/Israel.
September 05, circus quantum foam was fort he first time produced by the bremer shakespeare company, marking a new artistic development in the history of the company: With it the company enters the world of New Circus. Premiered in the Einstein centenary 2005, circus quantum foam circles around such themes and topics as intelligence, mind, the soul of mankind and the universe and the varieties of relationships between them. Circus quantum foam is to be continued in spring 2008.