Radical Adaptations of Old Texts: Workshop

Cost: FREE

Organiser: Stephanie Kempson

Thursday 19th July 7:30pm-10pm

Director Stephanie Kempson (Assistant Director on Jane Eyre) and Performer/Writer Marie Hamilton (Sally Cookson’s The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe) share their methods from their recent adaptation of Polly: The Heartbreak Opera. Polly was a radically updated version of John Gay’s Banned Sequel to The Begger’s Opera, which was partially created in Berlin and was created for a post-#MeToo, post-Brexit world.

This workshop will touch on dramaturgical exercises for approaching dated texts for adaptation with intersectional feminism in mind, but we will also physically explore how to approach these through devising tasks. BAME performers, dramaturgs and directors are particularly invited to apply. Applications should be sent to sjkempson [at ] gmail [dot] com with the subject “Polly: Radical Adaptations of Old Texts”, with around 50 words on your background in theatre and why you’d like to attend the workshop.

Praise for Polly:

“Gritty, in-your-face, intelligent exploration of feminism, power and control, completely bang on for political timing and satirical commentary.” Weston Super Mum on Polly

“Not only does it provide enough thought-provoking barbs to the audience in the middle of some overwhelming fun, but it also seems much more relevant than so many recent productions of The Threepenny Opera, which have sold themselves on their timeliness.” Exeunt on Polly

About the Workshop Leaders:

Stephanie Kempson is a director, writer and dramaturg. She has a Masters in Film and Literature from the University of York and an undergraduate degree from University of Falmouth in English and Creative Writing. She teaches and makes work for Bristol Old Vic (Spooky Ship, The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil), Tobacco Factory Theatres, Theatre Royal Bath Engage Department, Theatre Royal Bath Theatre School, The Prince’s Trust, Hauser & Wirth Somerset. Her directing credits include Pulling Out for Documental Theatre, Score for Documental Theatre. She completed the National Theatre’s Emerging Directors Scheme in 2017. She runs her own company Sharp Teeth Theatre, and is a storyteller and performer. She’s trained with Told By An Idiot, Arvon (David Eldridge, Jessica Swale, Christopher William Hill), Scottish Writing Centre (Simon Stephens, Lucy Kirkwood, Laura Wade, Chris Thorpe, Nicola McCartney, David Grieg) and is a graduate of Bristol Old Vic’s Made in Bristol Scheme.

Marie Hamilton trained at the Ecole Philippe Gaulier and is an actor and writer working in theatre, radio, film and TV. She has made work with the Almeida, the Gate, and the Arcola Theatre and with companies including ATC, Talawa and Travelling Light. Marie has worked with directors Sally Cookson (The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe) Michael Bouffong (The Serpent’s Tail) and Whitney Mosery (The Last Words You’ll Hear).


Bristol Old Vic



Contact Details

Stephanie Kempson
[email protected]


adaptation, workshop
Opportunity title: Radical Adaptations of Old Texts: Workshop
Expiry Date: 2018-07-18T00:00:00+01:00