Seoul Shakespeare Company

Seoul Shakespeare Company is a not-for-profit theatre company centered in Seoul, South Korea. Powered by a diverse community of actors and artists, Seoul Shakespeare company strives to produce quality productions that reach across linguistic and cultural boundaries while celebrating live theatre and the communities that produce these challenging and engaging works.

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Introduction and History

Seoul Shakespeare Company is a not-for-profit theatre company centered in Seoul, South Korea. Powered by a diverse community of actors and artists, Seoul Shakespeare company strives to produce quality productions that reach across linguistic and cultural boundaries while celebrating live theatre and the communities that produce these challenging and engaging works.

Description

Seoul Shakespeare Company is an all-volunteer theatre company that brings Shakespeare’s works to Seoul audiences in English, with Korean subtitles. We have existed since 2010, and have put on fully-staged productions since 2011. We typically produce one major show per year in Korea's theatre district of Daehangno, with smaller fundraising events throughout the year, as well as acting workshops that are open to the community.


We serve three main populations in Korea: 

1) Korean audience members (including students) who would like to see Shakespeare performed in the original language, 

2) English-speaking audience members who would like to see theatre performed in a language they understand, and 

3) English-speakers (both foreign and Korean) who want to participate in making theatre. 


By being an all-volunteer company, we are able to allow people of all nationalities to participate freely in the creation of theatre. At the same time, we aim to put on productions that are professional in quality, so that we are worth the time and effort of people who are serious about a future career in the theatre. Some of our past company members are now pursuing a professional career in theatre in other countries, and one of our core purposes is to provide an opportunity for English-speaking theatre people living in Korea to continue to develop their craft, while also contributing positively to Korean society.


History

Founded by Kevin Gerald Connors in January 2010 as Actors Without Bard'ers (AWB), the company presented A Night of Shakespeare, its first collection of William Shakespeare's scenes and monologues, in March of 2010 in association with Seoul Players. For many participants and audience members, this was a first introduction to Shakespeare's work in Seoul performed in its original language.  


That initial year was a year of exciting beginnings and changes, as Lindsey Higgins became the company's new artistic director and the company produced several small performances.  The first was Julius Caesar: Condensed, performed in May 2010 at the Haebangchon Music Festival and performed again in June 2010 at the Sindorim open air amphitheater.  The next performance was Love, Sex, Romance, a collection of love-themed scenes performed at the Gori Theater in Hyehwa's theater district in September 2010.  This production made AWB the first expatriate theatre company to produce a play in collaboration with a Korean-owned theater since 2003.  The company's last production that year was a staged reading of The Merchant of Venice, performed in November 2010.  That year also included a fundraising event which brought together the talents of local visual and musical artists in June, and the company's first educational workshop in July.  Under the leadership of Lindsey Higgins, the company began to focus its attention on the production of its first full play: Macbeth.   

The company began its 2011 season with a showcase of monologues in February and rehearsals for Macbeth, which ran for two weekends in April at the historic Changgo Theater in Myeongdong, Seoul.  By the second weekend the show was so popular that people without reserved tickets had to be turned away at the door.   


After the run of this first successful production, the company formed its first executive board and changed its name to Seoul Shakespeare Company (SSC) in May 2011.  The company produced two scenes projects later that year: Shakespeare's Mirth and Merriment in August and the ambitious Shakespeare's Gore and Madness in October.  Gore and Madness was performed first at the White Box Theatre and then at D.Festa, the Daehangno Small Theater Festival, in Seoul's theater district.  


In 2012, Seoul Shakespeare Company began the year with Love Bitten, a performance of sonnets set to original music.  For this event, SSC commissioned new music by Seoul Shakespeare Company member Jessica Adel, who assembled a group of female musicians together with local musician Jessica Rau.  Other local musicians opened and closed the evening as well, performing their own original music.


Seoul Shakespeare Company has now produced six full-length productions: Macbeth in April 2011 at Changgo Theater, The Tempest in April 2012 at Sotong Hall, Hamlet in April 2013 at Kim Dong Soo Playhouse, A Midsummer Night's Dream in May 2014 at Kim Dong Soo Playhouse, Titus Andronicus in May-June 2015 at Theater Egg and Nucleus (알과핵 소극장), and Much Ado About Nothing in May-June 2016 at Theater Egg and Nucleus (알과핵 소극장).  Seoul Shakespeare Company's members have also presented workshops on various topics, including voice and body work, Uta Hagen's acting techniques, stage combat, and interpreting Shakespeare's text.


In addition to performing live theatre, Seoul Shakespeare Company has held two Seoul Filmmakers' Challenges, in which local filmmakers compete to interpret a scene from Shakespeare and present their work at a public screening.


        Artistic Director: 

        Lauren Ash-Morgan


              Executive Board: Lauren Ash-Morgan, Ray Salcedo, Michael Downey, Joongwon Charles Jeong, Jamie Horan, Megan Hammond, Maria Fernanda Silva Rueda



              Previous Artistic Director, 2010-2014: Lindsey Higgins

              Original Founder (Actors Without Bard'ers): Kevin Gerald Connors


Production History:

Garage, October 14-22, 2017 Studio SK (Daehangno)

*The Winter's Tale, April 15-30, 2017 Theater Egg and Nucleus (알과핵 소극장) (Daehangno)

*Much Ado About Nothing, May 21-June 5, 2016 Theater Egg and Nucleus (알과핵 소극장) (Daehangno)

Shakespeare in Seoul: A Celebration of Shakespeare 400!, April 23, 2016, Camarata Music Company Studio

Love and Despair: Scenes from Shakespeare, Program 2 (Hamlet, The Tempest, Titus Andronicus, Othello), December 5-6, 2015, Camarata Music Company Studio

Love and Despair: Scenes from Shakespeare, Program 1 (Macbeth, The Tempest), November 28-29, 2015, Camarata Music Company Studio

*Titus Andronicus, May 30-June 14, 2015, Theater Egg and Nucleus (알과핵 소극장) (Daehangno)

The Players Play (November 2014 edition): An Evening of Monologue and Song, November  29, 2014 Camarata Music Company Studio

The Players Play (July 2014 edition): An Evening of Monologue and Song, July 12, 2014 Camarata Music Company Studio

*A Midsummer Night's Dream, May 2014 Kim Dong Soo Playhouse (Daehangno)

The Players Play: An Evening of Monologue and Song, April 19, 2014 Camarata Music Company Studio

The Tempest (excerpt) November 2013 Samdong Family Fun Festival, Philippines Relief Concert

*Hamlet, April 2013 Kim Dong Soo Playhouse (Daehangno)

*The Tempest, April 2012 Sotong Hall

Love Bitten: an evening of sonnets set to original music, February 2012   Camarata Music Company Studio

Shakespeare's Gore and Madness, October 2011 White Box Theater and D.Festa Daehangno Small Theater Festival (Egg and Nucleus Theater)

Shakespeare's Mirth and Merriment, August 2011 Moon Night

*Macbeth, April 2011 Changgo Theater 

A Search for Truth: A Collection of Monologues and Sonnets from William Shakespeare, February 2011, Roofers

The Merchant of Venice, staged reading, November 20-21, 2010, Ruf XXX

Love, Sex, and Romance, September 2010 Gori Theater

Julius Caesar: Condensed, June 2010 Sindorim open air amphitheater

Julius Caesar: Condensed, May 2010 Haebangchon Music Festival

A Night of Shakespeare, March 2010


* Mainstage production