Original Shakespeare Company

'The Two Gentlemen of Verona'; Jordan, 1999 The OSC was founded by Patrick Tucker, Christine Ozanne and Graham Pountney in 1991, endeavouring to recreate Elizabethan performance conditions. Their professional actors were trained to observe and theatricalise the clues which they had identified in First Folio text and believed to be put there by the author for the benefit of the working actor.

Putting on the plays in this manner was always a revelation, as new thoughts and ideas about the plays came out of this attempt at re-creating the original working practices. It soon became obvious that the Folio text was a much more accurate guide to performance than had previously been thought by academics and theatre people alike.

We tried to give the audiences the authentic experience by only doing one performance, or if we did more than one we would change the cast round to keep the spontaneity that would have been in the first performances. Such performances were thrilling, popular, and very uneconomic both financially and in the time taken to mount them. This led to the company going into suspension after presenting plays from each section of the First Folio, of Comedies, Tragedies, Romances and Histories.

OSC performances include most of The Comedie of Errors at the Mermaid Theatre, As you Like it; King John; Cymbeline at Shakespeare's Globe, London; Margaret of Anjou (scenes from the Henry VI and Richard III plays) in the Great Hall at Hampton Court Palace; Scenes from Measure for Measure and Hamlet for the English Department, Cambridge University; As you Like it and The Taming of the Shrew at the Du Maurier Festival in Toronto, Canada; A Midsommer Nights Dreame in Sydney, Australia; Germany and Jordan.

Between 1993 and 1999 the OSC presented full length presentations on 29 occasions, with the actors never meeting for group rehearsals, each only being given their Part, and all asked not to read the play or to make any acting decision other than that found in the text. The Platt for that performance would be hung backstage, and a copy of it given to the audience as a programme.

Full details of the work and philosophy of the company are contained in Secrets of Acting Shakespeare - the original approach, and in Acting from Shakespeare's First Folio; see both in Publications.

Full Length Productions

May 13th, 1990 As He Liked It
(Cue Script Scenes Fundraiser)
Theatre Royal Haymarket, UK
December 12th, 1991 The Comedie of Errors (a) Mermaid Theatre, UK
June 13th, 1993 A Midsommer Nights Dreame Neuss, Germany
June 14th, 1993 The Merchant of Venice Neuss, Germany
April 15th to 16th, 1994 As you Like it Toronto, Canada
June 10th, 1995 The Two Gentlemen of Verona (a) Detmold, Germany
February 16th to 18th, 1996 A Midsommer Nights Dreame Sydney, Australia
April 25th to 27th, 1996 The Taming of the Shrew Toronto, Canada
October 7th, 1996 Margaret of Anjou (a)
(Scenes from 1H6, 2H6, 3H6, R3)
Hampton Court, UK
July 24th to 25th, July 1997 A Midsommer Nights Dreame Jerash, Jordan
August 16th, 1997 The Comedie of Errors Ross-on-Wye, UK
September 1st, 1997 As you Like it Shakespeare's Globe, UK
July 23rd to 24th, 1998 Twelfe Night Jerash, Jordan
September 7th, 1998 King John Shakespeare's Globe, UK
November 13th to 14th, 1998 Twelfe Night Riverhouse Barn, UK
July 22nd to 23rd, 1999 The Two Gentlemen of Verona Jerash, Jordan
September 6th, 1999 Cymbeline Shakespeare's Globe, UK
June 25th to July 2nd, 2000 Hamlet (a) The Bothy, UK
July 29th to 30th, 2000 Romeo and Juliet Jerash, Jordan
September 29th, 2000 Romeo and Juliet Elmbridge, UK
September 30th, 2000 A Midsommer Nights Dreame
(A Boys Company Production)
Elmbridge, UK

(a) = abridged

Please see our Roll of Honour for a list of the actors, musicians and costumiers who brought the Original Shakespeare Company's productions to life.