Preview: The Ruff Guide to Shakespeare

Theatre company condenses the life and work of Shakespeare into one busy hour

Interview: Take Thou That – ‘Watching kids light up is fantastic’

The Ruff Guide to Shakespeare promises a spirited romp through Shakespeare's life and 37 plays, in just 60 minutes.

Specially created to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, this is not a conventional account of the Bard. Shakespeare is played by a woman, actor Eleanor House, a native of Aberdeen. 'It's educational and also light-hearted,' says Euan Shanahan of Take Thou That, the company behind this ambitious undertaking. 'It's for kids but we don't dumb it down.'

The show is aimed at children aged six and upwards, giving audiences a look at Shakespeare's life from cradle to grave. It takes in his early days in Stratford-upon-Avon and his time in London at the Globe theatre.

All of Shakespeare's plays are included at least once in the show, along with some of his sonnets and songs, too. In just an hour, the show belts through history plays, tragedies and comedies, and underlying this whirl of activity is a real passion for Shakespeare and a desire to convey that to a new generation.

'Watching kids light up is fantastic,' says Shanahan. Sounds like an ideal introduction to the world's most famous playwright.

Assembly George Square Gardens, 6–19 Aug (not15), 11.10am, £8–£9 (£6--£7). Previews 4 & 5 Aug, £5.

The Ruff Guide to Shakespeare

Take Thou That Commemorating the 400th anniversary of his death, Ruff Guide tells the tale of William Shakespeare (well, what we know of him!) Seven actors from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School will take you on a journey through his life, his plays and the Elizabethan stage! Designed for all the family, this is an…


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