The research project is significant because of the extent to which it has influenced audience experiences, scholarly thinking, and because it has provided a new understanding of the creative methodologies implemented to create the performative environment of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The cycles were enabled by a national and international collaborative partnership with the creative industry and festivals as the production was performed in different performance and cultural contexts:

  • Shell Studio, Parkside, BCU for Acting students and staff of Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. This was followed by an extensive Q&A feedback in April 2017;
  • Centrala Arts Centre, June 2017 and Digbrew Beer house (Birmingham), March 2018, for the festival audience as a part of 1st Friday Community Arts Festival.
  • As a solo performance and paper presentation at the International Federation of Theatre Research (IFTR) in Belgrade, 2018. This is a significant theatre conference with over 1000 performance academics and participants from around the world. The production was presented for three days to more than 600 audience members at the  Vuk Theatre, Belgrade. Funding by Belgrade City Arts  – (10.000 euros).
  • As a six-day Result Driven Workshop with an international group of performance designers whose outcome was presented for a week in the Prague Industrial Palace, to the international audiences, practitioners and scholars. This included the presentation of a keynote about our rehearsal process in June 2019 at the Prague Quadrennial (PQ 19), in Prague – (1.500 euros).
  • Six-month R&D on mixed media performance, exploring augmented reality and live performance funded by AHRC in collaboration with acting staff from Shanghai Theatre Academy. Performed in July 2019, at Shanghai Theatre Academy in Shanghai. – (£ 50.000)
  • As a video, live performance art using the Zoom online platform as a digital theatre in collaboration with the experimental cyborg theatre company Teatro Os Satyros. (Sao Paulo); live-streamed in December 2020, as live online performance – ( 3000 US dollars).

The significance of this project was that it influenced cultural and production platforms and shaped the audience’s experiences through new performative contexts. The project created various artistic forms that engaged the audience in different production contexts; acting students at RBC, local communities and participants in local festivals, international scholarly platforms on performance studies and performance design, AHRC funded R&D and full live digital collaboration with a professional theatre company

The practice-led research interdisciplinary performance, Macbeth Projeto, engages with adaptations of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, allowing connections between different dramatic forms and experiences through different artistic and theatrical forms. Over three years, we have enabled knowledge transfer through representation at leading international conferences in the performing arts sector.  This is also essential for the overall development of the project’s impact. Also, the ability to forge new collaborations with other world-leading researchers gave us new connections and opened up opportunities for future collaborations with our project. As a result of presenting at conferences and performing in front of different audiences, we obtained feedback and comments that expanded our knowledge base and influenced their understanding of cultural production, collaborative process and ultimately connecting to Shakespeare’s work in a variety of interdisciplinary art forms.

The project had significant influence over this period – from international TV, radio and newspaper coverage, to academic papers and social media discussions. It generated responses from academic papers, blogs and feedback in post-show discussions to representation in official media TV and newspaper articles. 

Selections form Review by Yuko Kurahashi (Kent State University, Ohio, USA) who attended the IFTR and Cycle 3 Solo – performance Macbeth at 4:48

Macbeth at 4:48

This one-person show is a story of Lady Macbeth (mainly) who is not an accomplice but is confined to a room in the castle, due to her nervous breakdown. So all of the murders– of Duncan and his servants–are committed by, in this narrative, Macbeth and Banquo. This is a devising theatre by Aleksandar Dunderovic and Stephen Simms. 

The description says this is “an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Sarah Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis.” Indeed, it is a psychodrama that explores a psychotic aspect of Macbeth story in a “contemporary” or timeless setting. The theatre spaces is an installation with a live actor–Stephen Simms with simultaneous video projections. The miniature set of Macbeth’s room, his tower, Lady Macbeth’s bedroom, and the “guest room” projected on the screen (Designer Maria Sanchez) is intriguing and also humorous. In a way, they are all in a “doll’s house.” The “inflated” plastic (blown by a portable fan) represents the confined world of Lady Macbeth. As Lady Macbeth, Simms wears a big piece of sheer white fabric and a white underwear while as Macbeth–after Lady Macbeth’s demise–he is completely naked. 

When the audience first arrives at the building (UK Vuk Stefanovic Karadzic), they are ushered to a bar where Stephen Simms welcomes them, a glass of beer in his hand. He approached my “non-smoking” table with his cigarette and he reads tarot cards to tell the future of a guy next to me. According to Macbeth (Simms), this nice guy will have some problems with older women. This waiting period is quite relaxing, surrealistic, and funny, and actually, I got to know a young scholar from Finland, attending the same conference. Of course, my first question to her is “do you like Moomin?” UK Vuk Stefanovic karadzic, Belgrade, Serbia, July 11, 201

Macbeth at VUK Theatre

Interview by Sour Grape Productions (03/01/2021)

The video can be accessed on the link below from minute 13:25.