The Shakespeare Gym

All you ever wanted to know about acting Shakespeare but were afraid to ask. 

Presented by British Council New Zealand and the Pacific & Auckland Theatre Company.

To commemorate the 400th Anniversary of the publication of Shakespeare’s First Folio, Gregory Doran (Royal Shakespeare Company Artistic Director Emeritus) set out on a bold quest - to travel the world to visit all of the 235 remaining copies of the original 1623 publication of 36 works by Shakespeare.

While in Tāmaki Makaurau, Gregory will deliver a practical masterclass for up to 30 actors. The Gym is a regular feature of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s rehearsal process, explores Shakespeare and the clues for actors he has written into the text.

Friday 16 June 2023, 2:30pm-4:00pm
Led by Gregory Doran,
RSC Artistic Director Emeritus 

Free for actors in Tāmaki Makaurau
Auckland Theatre Company,  
Mt Eden War Memorial Hall, 
487 Dominion Rd, Mt Eden
(car park and entry off Brixton Rd)
Registrations essential. 

About Gregory Doran

Cymbeline rehearsal with Gregory Doran. Photo by Ellie Kurttz.

Gregory Doran is a leading theatre director, described by the Sunday Times as 'one of the great Shakespeareans of his generation'. He was Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company for ten years, from 2012 until 2022. 

Doran directed his first RSC production in 1992, and went on to direct most of the Shakespearean canon. Notable RSC productions include Macbeth starring Antony Sher, Hamlet starring David Tennant and Patrick Stewart, and Julius Caesar with an all black British cast. In 2002, he won the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement of the Year and in June 2012 he was awarded the Sam Wanamaker Award by the Globe Theatre, in recognition of his work in increasing the understanding and enjoyment of Shakespeare. He stepped down from his position as Artistic Director of the RSC in April 2022, though he remains with the company as Artistic Director Emeritus. He is the author of Shakespeare's Lost Play; In Search of Cardenio, published in 2012 and My Shakespeare: a Director’s Journey through the First Folio, published by Bloomsbury in April 2023.

Having visited all 50 folios in the UK (culminating in the viewing of the Windsor Castle folio with RSC President, King Charles III), Doran has so far visited First Folios in Germany, USA, Japan, Australia and now visits New Zealand.

The First Folio at Auckland Library is the only copy in New Zealand; one of only three copies in the southern hemisphere, and one of 235 known surviving copies in the world. There are around 50 First Folios in the UK and Ireland; 150 in the US; 15 in Japan, 3 in the Southern Hemisphere, 1 in Canada, and the remainder in Europe.

About the British Council

British Council is the UK’s organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. It supports peace and prosperity by building connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and countries worldwide. British Council uniquely combines the UK’s deep expertise in arts and culture, education and the English language and is delighted to support RSC Artistic Director Emeritus Gregory Doran’s visit to Aotearoa New Zealand to view and acknowledge New Zealand’s only copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio. 

King Lear

by William Shakespeare
directed by Michael Hurst & Benjamin Kilby-Henson

Auckland Theatre Company's epic production of one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays, starring acting royalty Michael Hurst.