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Shakespeare Comes to Broadmoor

The Actors are Come Hither - The Performance of Tragedy in a Secure Psychiatric Hospital
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Between 1989 and 1991 several of Shakespeare's tragedies were performed in the central hall of Broadmoor Hospital. This book sets these important events on record. It offers insights into the impact of such drama, in such a setting, upon actors and audience. It includes interviews with the directors and the actors playing the title roles, as well as a description of the hospital and its community of patients and staff.
The performances were given by actors from The Royal Shakespeare Company (Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet), The Royal National Theatre (King Lear) and the Wilde Community Theatre Company, a local amateur drama group (Measure for Measure). An account is given of `workshops' which took place after the performances. And a collage of comment, by actors and audience, is presented as a stream of corporate consciousness.
The final section of the book has a more academic timbre, including chapters on performance and projective possibilities, the nature and scope of dramatherapy, and contributions on the place of drama in custodial settings by specialists from a variety of disciplines.
  • Published: Mar 01 1992
  • Pages: 304
  • 226 x 150mm
  • ISBN: 9781853021213
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Press Reviews

  • Church Times

    This is a deeply moving and important book.
  • BMJ

    This imaginative, even courageous, group of events bears witness to the importance of drama in the history of psychiatric therapy.
  • Clare Higgins

    This book is a bible for actors, a work of vast importance.
  • Southend Shakespeare Company

    This is a most fascinating book and it is set out like a play. The outlook is International and innovative. It is a book you will want to keep. So, explore it in a Library and put it on your birthday present list!
  • Group Analysis

    One is left with the impression not of a complete project but of the first communication in a new and exciting dialogue. It is difficult to convey the sheer energy of the book by simply describing its contents. All the participants speak with a sense of commitment and excitement which arises as a result of being involved in a truly creative enterprise. Poised there in the wings I can see the shadowy figure of Murray Cox (or is it indeed the Duke of Milan himself?) murmuring: "Now does my project gather to a head. My charm crack not, my spirit obey; and time Goes upright with his carriage." He can be pleased with the magic he has brought about.
  • Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health

    Apart from its intrinsic interest for those whose professional lives involve the care of mentally disordered offenders this book is recommended to those with an interest in the point and purpose of drama as well as being a highly original addition to the library of all those in love with Shakespeare.
  • Shakespeare Survey

    The book provides a valuable record of events and of an exceptional audience's reactions, along with broader thoughts about the role of drama in therapy.
  • The Year's Work in English Studies

    The year's most striking account of contemporary Shakespearean performance. [The book] documents a courageous experiment. It primarily consists of a sequence of interviews with the actors and directors who took part, some fascinating material on the nature of the hospital itself (and the use of drama in therapy), and a collage of reactions from those involved. Many of these attest to the power of the experience and those involved in the production register how it reformed their conceptions of both the hospital and of the dramatic material they brought to it.
  • Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease

    This work is a collage. Even though all the parts do not fit smoothly together, the reactions of the theater people should provide a unique stimulus to researchers who are interested in role behavior. Cox is to be congratulated for bringing spontaneity to a closed institution. He knows treatment and Shakespeare. He reflects the fact that a creative therapist must be skilled in the mediums which are the vehicle for the intervention.
  • AMBOV Quaterly

    This is a worthy book and it is important that these experiences have been put to paper.