Shameless Plugs


I’m tired. I’ve spent almost the whole day publicising Lady Jane Lumley’s Iphigenia, a Rose Company production and this blog is the final thing on my to do list.

I’ve contacted: two radio stations;  two local newspapers and (very scarily) one national paper; several schools and other educational establishments; some theatres; an online local website; as well as family, friends and any and every person I can think of who might conceivably be interested.

Word of mouth comes next – and I will be talking incessantly about Iphigenia between now and the show in a month’s time. (If you meet me over the next few weeks, you have been warned!)

I started by saying I was tired, though: I am; I don’t find publicising shows easy. Not easy at all – and I never have. Publicity has to be done early in the rehearsal process in order to give an audience time to organise diaries and buy tickets, but as it is early, it always feels strange to me because the show has yet to really take shape, so I generally don’t feel absolutely certain what it is I’m publicising and I don’t want to give mis-information or to under-sell. This time is a little easier because November’s Iphigenia is a revival of July’s show, so I have much, much more idea than I sometimes do!

I also find the self-promotion aspect of publicity difficult – and I know I’m a long way from being alone in this. Many performance artists/makers are essentially private, even shy, people, but in order to gain the audiences they need/crave, they have to confidently promote themselves and their work. As a director, I try to look at it as largely  advertising the talent and work of my team, which I find much easier to do than focusing on myself. To help with this, I aim only to work with people whose talent and commitment I rate and on projects/productions in which I really believe.  The Rose Company’s Iphigenia is no exception to this and I’m already excited about – and proud of – its cast and designer.

So, onto the shameless plug of the title – you knew it was coming! Please make time to see The Rose Company, Lancaster’s new all-female company, perform Lady Jane Lumley’s Iphigenia this November.

Lancaster Castle – November 19, 20, 21 – 7.30pm

Homerton College, Cambridge – November 23 – 4pm

UCL, London – November 24 – 3pm


Running time is approximately 70 minutes and tickets are £5 for all venues. They can be reserved by contacting The Rose Company on and payment should be made in cash on the door of the production.

Don’t miss the chance to see this extremely rarely performed gem – the first piece of dramatic literature by a woman in English and the first known translation of Euripides into English.

Hope to see you at one of the shows – and please tell your friends!

Thank you.

elaru xx


Accessing Shakespeare

I don’t know Sir Nicholas Hytner. (I met him once and babbled incoherently at him through nerves, so I hope he doesn’t remember me.) However, as a theatre director myself, though ever such a lowly one, I can imagine that at the very least he feels irritated by an article that has been feverishly circulating twitter and facebook today.

The article has the sub-heading “National Theatre director Nicholas Hytner admitted he found performances of the Bard’s works confusing – and he’s not alone” (taken from and goes on to say that much of Shakespeare is essentially incomprehensible to most people and that only via reading it on the page can anyone hope to understand it fully.

Researching a little further, I discovered what I think is the original source used to cite Hytner as being unable to understand Shakespeare. It’s an interview on the Radio Times’ website, which has the excited sub-heading “For the first ten minutes I sit there thinking ‘I don’t know what they’re talking about’ and I’m the director of the National Theatre”. It goes on, however, to say:

“Speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, Hytner revealed, “For the first ten minutes I sit there thinking ‘I don’t know what they’re talking about’ and I’m the director of the National Theatre. But I think, 15 minutes in, most people have tuned in.”

“Most people have tuned in.” I think that needs repeating. Very different then, from the tone of the article I read earlier today.

To get onto one of my soapboxes, Shakespeare wrote all his plays to be performed, not read. He wrote them using the language of the stage and, as long as the director, cast and crew work hard to understand that language themselves and then perform it truthfully, they will carry an audience with them and understanding will naturally occur. It will. I’ve experienced it countless times on both sides of the fourth wall and with performers and audiences who have had vastly different levels of Shakespearian experience – from complete novice to expert.

I’m going to give the final word to Hytner. This is again taken from The Radio Times interview, but this didn’t merit being highlighted in the sub-heading.

“The best way for anybody being introduced to Shakespeare is to see it well acted. If the actors are alive in it, it gets through.”

Hear hear!

elaru xx