THEATRE SET-UP Ltd.

The archive of Europe and UK's most-established open-air Shakespeare touring theatre company.

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Could there be anything lovelier than a word-perfect, inspired cast performing Shakespeare's classic lines in the style of an eighteenth century Venetian carnival, against the backdrop of the stunning Glastonbury Abbey with a harpist accompanying the ensemble?

My wife and I had the great pleasure of seeing you and the wonderful cast perform 'All's Well That Ends Well' last evening at Ingatestone Hall and were delighted with the performance, Please pass on our thanks and appreciation to the rest of the talented cast for a great evening.
We had a thoroughly enjoyable time and look forward to seeing you all again.
Good luck and best wishes for the rest of your tour.

"One of the loveliest nights of the year."
(The Stage, 1989)

"William Shakespeare would have approved."
(The Guardian,1992)

"As always we acclaim Theatre Set-Up for their elegant and lively way of interpreting and performing Shakespeare."
(Bergens Tidende, Norway 1998)

"The Theatre Set-Up company's Continent-bound production is blessed with clarity and sprinkled with gentle songs... it has magic and much charm."
(The Stage, 2000)

"They pay particular attention to the play's hidden meanings. This makes for clean-cut productions free of imposed directorial concepts, which allow the audience clear contact with the text."
(Bill Stone, The Evening Herald, 2001)

"Standing ovations for the Theatre Set-Up "As You Like It" in Belgium and The Netherlands."
(Brabants Dagblad, The Netherlands, 2002)

"For the Norwegian public it has become an annual dose to which they are addicted and of which they can not get enough."
(Sissel Hamre, Bergens Tidende, Norway 2002)

"The cast managed to bring out the humour in the show brilliantly. All the performances were, as usual, excellent."
(Manx Independent 2004)

WHAT THE PAPERS SAID:
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(Work of the company transferred to THE FESTIVAL PLAYERS).

International, professional Theatre Set-Up Ltd performed Shakespeare's plays in open air, outdoor, (sometimes indoor ), historic sites from 1976 to 2011. From 1993 they performed in mainland Europe as well as throughout the UK. Specialising in presenting the plays in the light of their secret meanings, (researched by Dr Wendy Macphee in doctorate studies at the Shakespeare Institute of the University of Birmingham), they performed with a minimum of fuss and accoutrements, with the reduced touring/private performance cast numbers modelled by Shakespeare's own company, The King's Men. The secret meanings which formed the basis of cast rehearsals were given to the audience in the plays' programme notes.

Much appreciated by regular audiences throughout UK and mainland Europe in beautiful settings for quality, accessible Shakespeare performances, they enjoyed support over the years from The British Council, British Ambassadors to the countries wherein they were playing and many Friends of Theatre Set-Up. Self-funding, they survived without government grants, providing their casts with Equity controlled touring conditions, allowances and wages. The company was a registered educational and cultural charity, its administration donated by trustees Lyndsey Brandolese, Lindsay Royan and Wendy Macphee and photography by Mick and Wendy Gains.

Education programmes were followed in Northumberland and London, guided by Dorothy Heathcote who participated in workshops for special needs students in Northumberland.

Many of the venues, in historic gardens, castles, manor houses, abbeys and private grounds were devastated to learn that the 2011 season, due to disability of the main administrator who also financed the company, would be the last to be presented, but luckily costumes, gear and venues were transferred in 2012 to THE FESTIVAL PLAYERS (see www.thefestivalplayers.org.uk ) so that the work of the company in most of its beautiful venues in UK, Norway, Belgium and The Netherlands continued.


Work is proceeding on a publication of
"SECRET MEANINGS IN SHAKESPEARE",
(date to be released when available on this website).
A collation of the plays' programmes containing the secret meanings used in production is also being prepared.