'A unique theatrical experience'

The Guardian ★★★★

The Tempest

For people with autism and their families
Adapted by Kelly Hunter

The Tempest was the first production created by Kelly Hunter to be based on the Hunter Heartbeat method. Fifteen people with autism become the participants for each performance, sitting with six actors in a circle around a painted floor cloth, which represents Prospero’s island. The children’s families sit just behind them. The actors invite the children to join them on the island as the story unfolds through sensory games, which the children and actors play together. The show has been performed in English, Spanish and Catalan.

Watch the full show here

Where we have been

The production was created and performed at the Courtyard Theatre, Stratford upon Avon as a co-production between the Royal Shakespeare Company and Ohio State University, July 2014 and has since performed at:

Wexner Centre Columbus Ohio US July 2014
Bloomsbury Theatre, Bloomsbury Festival October 2015
The Help Centre, Los Angeles US May 2016
Festival de Clasicos en Alcala de Henares June 2016
Festival of Love, Southbank Centre July 2016
Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond UK October 2016
Teatre Lliure, Barcelona with a Catalan version with actors from La Kompanyia and children and staff at Escuela Especial Monserrat Montera, March 2017

Read what people say…

“A joy to behold” Michael Walling, Border Crossings 2016

The most unique Shakespeare production I’ve seen

Groundbreaking Shakespeare **** The Guardian

A sight I thought I’d never see

And this from a parent…

How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in’t!

Thank you for creating your magical isle, which produced transformative effects beyond what even Prospero would have imagined.  Myself and my 14 year old son really enjoyed being able to share in the truly unique experience of your specially edited version of the Tempest.

As the wonderful and unique children that took part in this performance demonstrated, the autistic spectrum is very wide and every individual with a diagnosis of autism requires a bespoke and individual response.

My son has high functioning autism and this is for him very much an invisible disability. In many ways his autism is only a disability if it is adisability by which I mean if he finds the right job of work, the right, compassionate, understanding, group of people around him then there is nothing to stop him reaching his potential.  So far my son has been blessed to have the support of a superb specialist education unit within a main stream school, specific health care, and occupational therapy not to mention understanding friends and family, all of which have allowed him to flourish. This support masks the true extent of the day to day challenges that he has in dealing with, what is to him, a very alien and confusing world.  Your work with him to- day added to his development and understanding considerably.

I find the art of supporting my son is to creatively enter his world and through this act of empathy find the conditions by which we can learn to fit in with his world view rather than expecting him to understand ours.  I remember reading the views of one autistic man who explains the situation this way; “everyone else is a boat but I am bike.  In the world of boats everyone expects you to act as a boat and when the boat is broken they will suggest sensible ways to fix boats.  They give these solutions to me but I am not a broken boat, I am a bike.”

I think you have very successfully tapped into the realisation that exceptional actors (such as the ones involved in today’s Company) have a skill which makes them particularly good at working with people with autism and that is the ability to fully imagine a world from an utterly different point of view – a heightened sense of empathy more highly tuned than the rest of us.  The actors today, using their great imaginative and practical skills were able to haul their hulls out of the water in order to become bikes; the children in the show today instinctively understood this and were thus given the unprecedented opportunity to free wheel like the best multi geared trail bikes they are.

I was deeply touched and moved today.  The insights from my son were stunning – he found a fluency of voice and movement during the performance I have rarely seen in him before.  He made interesting observations – “today was the first time I forgot myself and was just there” – he had a totally intuitive sense of the characters and meanings of the Tempest. He was seriously impressed with the actors’ ability to change who they were. Today was a phenomenal success.

You are all involved in very important work which has the power to transform lives and unleash unrealised potential in the children you work with.

With much thanks and deepest gratitude

First days with RSC actors and children of Welcombe Hills School 2010

The Tempest. Courtyard Theatre Stratford upon Avon 2014

Cast

Teatre LLiure March 26th 2017
Joan Armargos  – Caliban
Quim Avila – Ariel
Claudia Benito – Miranda
Raquel Ferri – Trinculo
Eduardo Lloveras  – Ferran
Andrea Ros – Eres
Joan Sole – Prospero
Julia Truyol – Stefano
Assistant Director  – Adan Llorca

Orange Tree Theatre October 2016
Finlay Cormack  – Ariel
Tricia Gannon  – Trinculo
Lowri Izzard  – Miranda
Joshua Jackson  – Caliban
Chris Macdonald  – Ferdinand/Stephano
Sifiso Mazibuko  – Prospero

Festival of Love, Southbank Centre 2016
Tas Emiabata  – Caliban
Tricia Gannon  – Trinculo
Chris Macdonald  – Ferdinand/Stephano
Sifiso Mazibuko  – Prospero
Eva Lily Tausig  – Miranda
Andrew Trimmer  – Ariel

Clasicos en Alcala Spain 2016
Jimmy Castro  – Prospero
David Soto Giganto  – Ferdinand/Trinculo
Greg Hicks  – Caliban
David Matillo  – Stephano
Aleix Mele  – Ariel
Sara Sanchez  – Miranda

Bloomsbury Festival 2015
Tricia Gannon  – Trinculo
Greg Hicks  – Caliban
Chris Macdonald  – Ferdinand/Stephano
Sifiso Mazibuko  – Prospero
Roslyn Paterson  – Ariel
Eva Lily Tausig  – Miranda

Original cast, Stratford upon Avon 2014
Columbus Ohio. 2014
LA Help Centre 2016
Greg Hicks  – Caliban
Chris Macdonald  – Ferdinand/Stephano
Kevin McClatchy  – Prospero
Mahmoud Osman  – Ariel
Robin Post  – Trinculo
Eva Lily Tausig  – Miranda

Director
Kelly Hunter

Designer
Anthony Lamble

Company Stage Manager
Paula Salmon

Original Casting Director
Annelie Powell