Week 1 of the process you will find out about Research and Developement in the rehearsal room, and from Becky who helped to cast the actors in the play

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It’s just the beginning but I have loved working on how Banquo moves, talks, observes, thinks, so far. There’s a lot more to come, but it’s been a lot of fun.

The action begins! After a week of R&D (Research & Development), which mainly operates sitting around a table talking, it’s always so much fun to finally get stuck into getting the play on its feet. Also, we were finally allowed to start focusing on our characters a little more.

At this stage, I like to be a little familiar with the text so that I can feel free to explore in the space with the other actors. I always feel a little more restricted if I’m relying heavily on the script when we get it up on its feet. This is a personal preference though. Each actor works in different ways and will have their own process and preferences.

Rehearsal rooms work to a call sheet. If you’re not called for a rehearsal scene, you’ll be working on the play in other ways; looking at text with Giles (the Globe’s ‘Text Associate’); preparing your voice for the Globe space with Tess (our ‘Voice Associate’). It’s an extremely unique building that requires a certain practice of the voice in order to work with the space successfully. Working on your physicality and movement around the space with Glynn (the Globe’s ‘Movement Associate’) and Shelley. Again, the Globe Theatre is a round space, with audience surrounding you. Your journey around the stage as your character has to harmonise with that. This sometimes takes more of a conscious effort than in a modern theatre setting. They’ll be costume and hair and make-up discussions throughout the days as well, which are always really usefully as you continue to think about building your character.

When you are in the room for rehearsal, Cress’s (the Director) detail continues. We now break our rehearsal scenes into to even smaller sections. Singular thoughts. And we name these as well. This continues to create a very clear journey for the scene and the characters in it. The names for each thought give you clarity on what story you are telling from moment to moment.

Once that step is done…bang! We’re on our feet. But now we have a wealth of knowledge and detail from our process so far, to help support us. As an actor, you hope this translates into you being free to make decisions during a scene and being able to implement notes given to you by the director with a degree of ease.

It’s just the beginning but I have loved working on how Banquo moves, talks, observes, thinks, so far. There’s a lot more to come, but it’s been a lot of fun.

Samuel Oatley – Banquo





A big part of our job is also to keep up to date with actors so we know who to bring in to audition, which involves going to see a lot of theatre and watching plenty of television and films.

I’m Becky and I’m Casting Associate here at Shakespeare’s Globe. There are two of us in the Casting department and our main role is to help directors find actors for all productions produced here at the Globe and in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, including the Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank productions.

As a child, I didn’t go to the theatre very often but when I was a teenager I came to see Anne Boleyn here at the Globe and it made me realise that I wanted to be involved in theatre when I was older – even if I didn’t quite know doing what! I started out working in theatre marketing but realised that I wanted a more creative role directly involved in creating the shows – and all the casting conversations in the office sounded much more interesting than what I was doing at the time. I was lucky enough to start working at the Globe 18 months ago and absolutely love doing this job. We work on all stages of the casting process from the initial conversations with directors through to auditions and offering actors the roles in shows. A big part of our job is also to keep up to date with actors so we know who to bring in to audition, which involves going to see a lot of theatre and watching plenty of television and films.

The process of casting this year’s Playing Shakespeare production started with lots of conversations with the director, Cressida Brown, to find out more about what she envisioned for the show and how she saw the characters in the play. We then auditioned actors who we thought would work well in the roles, narrowing it down to the actors who Cressida wanted to play the characters on stage. We then asked them to be involved and luckily they all said yes – so we have a wonderful cast of 10 actors playing across the many roles in Macbeth.

Becky Paris

Casting Associate


Key term: R&D is short for ‘Research and Development’. It refers to the initial phase of a project when questions are asked, discoveries are made and different ideas are played with, as the piece of work is being created.

I love the rehearsal room. There is nothing like starting a theatre job – getting to know the company, getting to know the team working with us to create the story you’ll be hearing and seeing. All these people are going to feel like family as we spend more time with each other than anyone else.

You get to reexamine the play, the characters, get to explore the music of the show and also have a little dabble in the fight scenes. Always a ton of fun but always very hard work.

The play is a crime scene and we’re all top notch detectives waiting to put our theories to the test. As long as you can support theories with evidence…no possibility is out of the question. Shakespeare has created work where there can be several RIGHT answers. That is extremely liberating and exciting as we work to see which paths we’ll take with our version of the story.

Cress, our director, works in a lot of detail, which sets the tone and creates the foundation for rehearsals moving forward. In R&D week, we weren’t allowed to read our own characters. Cress wanted us to have a wider vision of the play. It’s a great exercise because it does stop you focussing on your own character journey and instead, concentrate on the story telling for the whole piece.

Shakespeare plays can look scary but a technique we’ve used that could be very helpful for people working on the plays for their exams, is to divide each scene into sections/episodes, making sure they are named. These would then work as our rehearsal scenes moving forward. This provides a clear understanding of what each section/episode is about, giving us a simple map for the journey of the play. You can also utilise this technique when looking at just an extract from a play.

R&D week culminates in the sharing of the design and costumes. This is always very exciting for everyone. Up until this point, the cast don’t know what the world of the play is going to look like but with the unveiling of set design and costumes, it begins to create clear images in our mind of the characters and the surroundings we’ll be interacting with.

I think you’re going to like it 😉

Samuel Oatley – Banqu





A person taking an open palm fighing stance with three people talking in the background

You may notice the familiar face of Ekow Quartey who will play Macbeth. This is a photo of him rehearsing for A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2019. You can see that rehearsals are a great space for the director and actors to experiment.

It’s so important just to go for it.  

I come from a site-specific background as a theatre director which means that I have directed productions for spaces that aren’t traditional theatres. I’ve done shows in derelict swimming pools, in tower blocks, in art galleries, in fields and in castle ruins, including rooftops and in the dungeons. I find spaces and architecture exciting and I love the idea of an audience experiencing an environment differently whilst seeing a play. They might even end up on the stage themselves! My work also tends to be political. I think that activism is important in art and I hope to create little revolutionaries out of my audience and inspire them to fight for what they believe in.  

3 tips for young people to work in theatre…

  • Find your family: the people that you want to create and work with. It’s really important that you have collaborators that you trust and who can support you. 
  • Never let anyone say that you won’t be able to do something. Be ambitious because there is no point in doing art that you don’t really believe in, and art should be about achieving the impossible.  
  • I always thought there was a ‘theatre world’ to break in toAnd then I just did a play. It got on to Channel 4, ITV and BBC. Suddenly I realised that British theatre wasn’t something I had to break in to – I was British theatre. It’s so important just to go for it.