19 years ago I sat in a one bedroom flat in Auckland thinking about what to do next. As a struggling actor / director it became apparent that to survive in New Zealand in the arts one has to produce their own work. Lara Macgregor, now herself artistic Director of the Fortune Theatre in Dunedin, and then living and working in New York as an actor, sent me a copy of “The Compleat Works of William Shkspr (abridged)”. I read this script not sure of what I would do with it. and then...
I always remembered how painful it was in school listening as we read Shakespeare as a class and butchered it, staring out the window with little regard for the captivating and dramatic stories unfolding. We were unaware because we just didn’t understand. These memories and the great script in my hand inspired me to change that.
And so the Ugly Shakespeare Company was born to take the fear out of Shakespeare.
Now the longest running Theatre-In-Education company in Aotearoa, we have had our work in front of over 800,000 students. And we plan to continue doing that to bring theatre, Shakespeare and comedy to New Zealanders irrespective of social, geographic or economic isolation.