A passionate, illuminating exploration of Shakespeare's greatest plays and characters, by the director of acclaimed theatre compa...
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A passionate, illuminating exploration of Shakespeare's greatest plays and characters, by the director of acclaimed theatre company Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory.
Combining close textual analysis with practical insights based on his extensive experience of directing Shakespeare's plays, Andrew Hilton delves into a fascinating range of topics such as emotional truth in the comedies, the importance of the plays' social dynamics, the choice of settings and periods, making and withholding moral judgements, working with different versions of the texts, and even adapting them.
Throughout, Hilton urges us as audiences and theatre-makers to set aside our preconceived notions, and instead to approach Shakespeare's plays with an open mind, moment by moment, so that we can connect with them in fresh and vital ways.
'The clear-sightedness, wit and depth of knowledge and insight into the plays and their worlds is unparalleled... should be required reading for everyone approaching these plays... A fabulous book, brimful of wisdom and revelations and a gift to anyone interested in Shakespeare or, quite frankly, in people' John Heffernan, actor
'Andrew Hilton's Tobacco Factory Shakespeares were an inspiration... What audiences saw and heard was not a display but an uncovering. His productions did not add to the drama: they revealed it... In Shakespeare on the Factory Floor, Hilton has once again lit up Shakespeare: lucid and penetrating on the page and on the stage' Susannah Clapp, theatre critic of the Observer
'The detail and simplicity of Andrew Hilton's directing is as potent in his writing as it is in the rehearsal room... A wonderful book' Dorothea Myer-Bennett, actor
'Andrew Hilton has used his rich experience of many years to create a penetrating, timely and distinctive study of the plays... I only wish this book had been around when first I read Shakespeare. It would have opened my eyes and my mind much earlier' Professor Sir Christopher Frayling, Former Rector of the Royal College of Art and Chair of Arts Council England
'Andrew Hilton's fascinating book reveals how theatrical performance offers insights into longstanding questions of literary interpretation... Written in an engaging and readable style, it will be of interest to actors, directors, scholars and anyone who enjoys reading Shakespeare's plays or seeing them performed' Lesel Dawson, Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Bristol
Andrew Hilton is an actor, director, teacher and playwright. He created Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory in Bristol in 1999 and remained its Artistic Director until 2017, directing 39 productions for the company, at the Tobacco Factory, the Bristol Old Vic, the Barbican Pit, and on tour in the UK, the Irish Republic, Germany and Romania. His book Shakespeare on the Factory Floor was published by Nick Hern Books in 2022.
He began his professional carreer in 1972 as an Assistant, then Associate, to Bernard Miles at the Mermaid Theatre in London, before joining the National Theatre as an actor in 1975. He went from there to play many seasons at the Bristol Old Vic, as well as appearing widely on television and radio.
Making Bristol his home in 1979, he began teaching Shakespeare acting at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and joined a co-operative theatre company for whom he directed new plays by James Wilson and Dominic Power, the UK premieres of plays by Brian Friel and Michael Gow, and his first production of Measure for Measure.
His Shakespeare productions at the Tobacco Factory have been widely praised; in 2001 Jeremy Kingston in The Times called the company 'one of the most exciting in the land'; in 2005 Lyn Gardner of the Guardian hailed 'one of the great tellers of Shakespeare'; and in 2013 Susannah Clapp in The Observer dubbed it 'the Shakespearean powerhouse'. But he has also been a noted director of Chekhov. His account of his 2009 production of Uncle Vanya at the Bristol Old Vic was broadcast by the BBC as part of Radio 3's The Essay Series.
As a playwright he has co-authored - with Dominic Power - Tartuffe, after Molière (Tobacco Factory, 2017), a stage adaptation of James Hogg's novel The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, and a piece of music-theatre, Lady with Dog, based on the short story by Chekhov.
Andrew was born in Bolton in 1947 and read English at Cambridge, studying Shakespeare at Churchill College under Michael Long. In 2013 he was made an Honorary Doctor of Letters by the University of Bristol for his services to theatre in the city. He is married to the stage manager and artist Diana Favell, and they have one son.