Merely Theatre is committed to performing classical works and selected pieces of new writing. Known for a stripped back style that puts the focus on the text, Merely aim to make theatre as accessible, entertaining and vital as possible.  Their tireless work toward that aim has seen the company become known for 'Sweaty Shakespeare'.


In Merely Theatre's new touring shows, each actor is twinned by another actor of the opposite gender, and they rehearse their parts together. The result is men and women playing every role in any and all potential combinations, creating five-hand Shakespeare plays with immense energy, pace and clarity.


2010 - The Merely Players

The company was first created by Artistic Director Scott Ellis to produce stripped back productions of Shakespeare's classic works. The company first produced Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and Hamlet, together with newly published play Last Man Standing. Throughout these productions, the company were praised for their impeccable text work.

2014 - Merely Shakespeare

The Merely Players embarked on an ambitious new project, Merely Shakespeare. Stripping back costumes, sets and props, the company set out to perform full-cast productions of Shakespeare's best known works for one night only at the Cockpit Theatre. Once a month, every month, with just eight rehearsals to stage the plays.

This venture was a huge success, and saw sold out audiences and standing ovations. The Cockpit was home to performances of A Comedy Of Errors, Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth, As You Like It, Henry IV Part I, Twelfth Night, Julius Caesar & The Taming Of The Shrew.

2015 - Merely Theatre & The Genderblind Rep

The Merely Players became Merely Theatre, and reformatted their work. Scaling down to a core company of just ten actors, five male and five female, they undertook a radical reinvention of their stripped-back style, becoming the first fully gender blind Shakespeare company. Tatty Hennessy joined the company as associate director.

2016 - National Tour

From January to May of 2016, Merely Theatre embarked on their first national tour, supported using public funding by Arts Council England. Performing over forty shows in over twenty different venues throughout England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, the gender-blind rep mounted productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream and Henry V.

Over the course of the tour the company played both the Lincoln and Wakefield Theatre Royal, King's Theatre Edinburgh, Theatre At The Mill Newton Abbey, and many more vibrant venues. The tour drew an overwhelmingly positive response from audiences and critics alike,  including sold out shows, standing ovations and hundreds of excited tweets.

2017 - Romeo & Juliet and Twelfth Night

Merely Theatre will celebrate its tenth anniversary by performing two of Shakespeare's most celebrated plays.

They are currently booking the Spring 2017 tour, once again in association with The Production Exchange. For all enquiries, please contact Emmy Rose at emmy@merelytheatre.co.uk

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