TOUR DE FORCE of England
Tour de Force Homepage
TOUR DE FORCE is a production company comprised of “British Shakespearean actors who have worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre.” The company tours nationally and internationally presenting shows and workshops “designed to give students a practical experience of working in classical theatre. “The practical approach will, of course, complement any academic study of the plays and, we hope, appeal to any student with an interest in classical theatre.”
British actors of TOUR DE FORCE of England led Shakespeare Performance Workshops (as a University Hour) and presented Macbeth at ECSU in Shafer Auditorium in Fall 2001. These professional performers demonstrated vocal and physical techniques required to mount Macbeth (their production first performed at the Arundel Festival in England) and led our ECSU students in exercises to learn these techniques. This was a hands-on participatory workshop introducing methods of mastering the Bard. This University Hour kicked off a series of Shakespearean workshops and the performance of Macbeth which is directed by Joe Harmston and played to 500 public school children at the Mid-Day Matinee and a sold-out audience at the evening show.
“At the culmination of the workshops, adding the dimension of real performance and discipline, TOUR DE FORCE presented a series of scenes from the works of Shakespeare.” For this particular guest residency TOUR DE FORCE presented excerpts from their recent production of Macbeth which played to full houses of 1200 per show at the Arundel Festival in England. The performance at ECSU marked their USA debut of Macbeth. For students, staff and audience members alike, this was an excellent opportunity for the ECSU community-at-large to experience professional level theatrical teaching and performance. To note, ECSU students Thayer Kitchen and Michael Lessard were part of the Arundel production and were joined by an ECSU student ensemble in the USA.
The Artistic Director of TOUR DE FORCE, James Simmons, has a proven track-record of excellence as a guest artist at ECSU over the past few years. He is an actor whose career has included roles for the Royal National Theatre, The Royal Shakespeare Company, Chichester Festival Theatre, Renaissance Theatre Company and in the West End as well as many appearances on television and film. We were very pleased to welcome him back to ECSU and delighted that he was joined by other equally talented and expertly trained British Theatre professionals.