Come and work with us! Bursary-funded Acting Opportunity with The Elysium Theatre Company and The National Trust


The Elysium Theatre Company is looking for motivated, reliable and talented actors for their 2013 Shakespeare season. There are a variety of roles available within the Elysium ensemble: both male and female and all ages.

This season we will be presenting a selection of Shakespeare’s comedies for performance at Exeter venues and at our annual Shakespeare and Heritage Festival at the National Trust’s Buckland Abbey on 13th and 14th July. Rehearsals will be taking place through May and June in Exeter; you will need to be available throughout the rehearsal and production period.

For more information please see the person specification and production information below. If you are keen to apply, please email for an application form and more details about auditions.
(If you’re interested in being a part of the production team, we’d also love to hear from you.)

Person Specification

  • It is essential that you have a strong interest in Shakespeare and in immersive theatre.
  • Experience of acting Shakespeare is a bonus but not a strict requirement: we welcome applications from enthusiastic, talented people whether experienced or not.
  • Ability to work on own initiative and as part of a team.
  • Tact, diplomacy and excellent communication skills (both written and verbal).
  • Ability to work successfully with a range of student and professional artists.
  • Ability to work under pressure and to meet deadlines.
  • Enthusiasm for delivering workshops for school pupils and helping younger students learn about Shakespeare and heritage is a must.
  • You must be prepared to give this production your focus and commitment throughout the rehearsal and production period and will be required to sign a contract.

The role includes a bursary payment (minimum £100), payable at the close of the production. There will be opportunities to increase your bursary amount through dedication to the ensemble (e.g. through taking on extra responsibilities such as becoming a Marketing Assistant or Props Assistant).

Company Information:

Elysium Theatre was set up to make classic plays and historical material more accessible, exciting and appealing to modern audiences and young theatre practitioners.

We believe that the right mix of tradition and innovation can produce electrifying and exhilarating theatre.

We aim to reconnect hearts and minds with the power of the past: providing free training opportunities in classical theatre for young artists, promoting the use of ancient storytelling techniques alongside innovation and exploration, and illustrating the relevance of our heritage today.

For more information about The Elysium Theatre Company, see our 2012 Showreel  and our ‘Who We Are’ page


Production Information:

After the success of Elysium Theatre’s 2012 project, The Wars of the Roses, which toured Devon, Cornwall and the Midlands before giving a grande finale weekend-long performance at a National Trust site to around 1,000 people, the company is developing its connections with local heritage sites and organisations by setting up an annual Shakespeare project.

This year the National Trust have requested for us to deliver an Elizabethan-themed event. We will be rehearsing a selection of Shakespearean comedies including Much Ado about Nothing, giving performances of single plays at Exeter University Piazza and the Phoenix centre, before performing the whole collection in a multi-dimensional form at Buckland Abbey: combined with improvisation, promenade performance, and site-specific drama. The performance will be set against a colourful and interactive Elizabethan “Living History” backdrop, courtesy of participating groups: immersing audiences in the period and narrative in unique creative, dynamic and participatory ways.



The Heritage Lottery Fund supports the Wars of the Roses Project!

We have been successful in our application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for financial support for our Wars of the Roses project!

Richard Bellamy, HLF’s Acting Head of South West said: “In a year in which the works of Shakespeare are being widely celebrated as part of the cultural Olympiad, we are delighted to be able to support the Elysium Theatre company’s innovative exploration of the History plays and the period in which they are set.  The project will enable the young people involved to gain a range of theatre skills, whilst learning more about their local and national heritage”.

The aim of our production is to promote learning through the engagement of theatre with heritage: it will bring together the different skills of actors and re-enactors, and people working professionally in both the theatre and heritage sectors, combining them to create an impressive event that showcases the period of history and the plays of Shakespeare. This project will give practitioners of Shakespearean drama the chance to work with, and learn from, historical re-enactment enthusiasts and vice versa.

The audience who come to the event will have the chance to see Shakespeare’s plays in a historical setting, presented in a new and stimulating way. Through a range of activities including seminars led by staff at the University of Exeter, theatrical workshops run by theatre professionals and postgraduate students of Drama, and talks held by staff at Buckland Abbey, the young people involved in the production will be given opportunities to develop theatrical skills as well as knowledge of medieval life and Elizabethan literary and dramatic heritage.

We are providing people with the chance to get involved in all aspects of theatre practice – from acting to stage management, costume-making to marketing – while expanding their knowledge of literary and cultural heritage. Through this project, we will provide many young people from a range of backgrounds with opportunities to take part in a high-profile, ambitious and unique event. Working with theatre professionals and postgraduates, and receiving educational talks from heritage experts, The Wars of the Roses participants will gain a deeper insight into medieval English history, and local historical sites, as well as having the chance to acquire valuable theatrical skills to use as they develop their careers.

Commenting on the award, our very own Artistic Director Ellie Chadwick said: “We are delighted to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund: everyone involved is excited about the workshops, talks, rehearsals and performances that are coming up”.

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported over 30,000 projects, allocating £4.6billion across the UK. Website:

For further information, images and interviews, please contact Emily Evans by email –

New Youtube Videos!

We know you have been waiting on bated breath for a new post from us and here it is! Not one but three new Youtube videos of rehearsals for our Wars of the Roses production! Enjoy!




P.S. THIS Saturday (16th June, 7pm – 9pm) is our performance of William Shakespeare’s ‘Henry V’ at Poltimore House, Exeter. Tickets are still available online: or on the door on the night. Hope to see you there!

The Wars of the Roses Collage piece, Dress Rehearsal

Some photos and video from the rehearsals for our collage piece presented as part of the University of Exeter’s Forum opening, visited by her majesty the Queen as part of her Jubilee Tour.

This ensemble-focused performance takes the audience on a journey spanning one hundred years of history: moving from the melancholy elegance of Richard II, through the rebellions, victories and losses of the following plays, and finally into the dark brutality of Richard III.


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A trip to Buckland Abbey!

Last week cast and crew went on a roadtrip to our main performance space: The National Trust’s Buckland Abbey. We piled in a minibus and off we went to Yelverton. The weather, luckily, wasn’t too bad and we tried out a few scenes in both the outdoor and indoor spaces that we’ll be using on the performance days. The actors got a feel for the huge scope of the place they’ll be working in, and started to get to grips with the “epicness” of this task! The Great Hall (our indoor space) impressed everyone with its sheer size and grandeur – and we started with some pretty thorough voice work to help the cast cope with the hugeness of the place and its sound-absorbing stone walls. Trying out a few scenes in there was really valuable. We even got a bit of applause for our rehearsals from passers by!

The trip was great, and we’re really excited about getting back to the Abbey in August to perform. Hope to see you there!

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Promotion Posters for the 2012 ‘Wars of the Roses’ event!

A big thank you to Joshua L. Irwandi who did all the photography and design for our posters 🙂

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Head on over to our Facebook Page ( to vote for your favourite!

Our first youtube video!

We made this video with some of the cast and crew as part of a funding application for The Wars of the Roses project. It gives an insight into the early stages of the project and what we are aiming for, as well as demonstrating the emphasis on young people’s involvement with heritage through this production.


Subscribe to our Youtube channel for more videos:

The History and Archaeology of Medieval England – Part One

In honour of our War of the Roses project, I (Emily) will be writing a series of short blogs about medieval archaeology to help get us in the Middle Ages mood!

Have you ever been travelling in a car or on a train and looked out of the window, or have been walking in the countryside, and noticed strange linear earthworks in the surrounding fields?

Like these?:

Image sourced from:

Image sourced from:

Medieval open field system (note the different strips!)

Well what you are seeing are the remains of a medieval (and in some cases post-medieval) cultivation method that is called ‘Ridge and Furrow’ (or ‘Rig and Furrow’ depending on where you are in the country!). In Medieval England villages and towns were surrounded by large open fields that were farmed in strips, shared by farmers who had their own various numbers of strips.

These farmers would use ox-drawn ploughs to cultivate the land: the plough’s blade would cut the turf and push the soil against a wooden board, which turned the soil over and moved it to one side. As the oxen returned back down the field, after finishing the first cut, the process would happen again but with the new soil being turned over piling up against the first cut creating a ridge. The ridges created by ploughing were in essence self-draining seedbeds, whilst the furrows acted as open drains and served as markers between different farmers’ ridges.

Image sourced from:

Medieval ploughing

Many areas of once widespread ridge and furrow have been lost due to enclosure of land and demise of strips, urban development, and modern agriculture; but the archaeology of these features often still remains in the soil. Areas of these interesting earthworks can still be found all over Britain and vary in shape and size.

Image sourced from:

Image sourced from:

Image sourced from:

I hope with this short blog, and its followers, you get the feeling that even in our busy, hi-tech modern world, our humble past is never that far away.

Emily 😀


Green, Ralph. 2011. Cotswold Ridge and Furrows. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 31/10/11]

Hall, David. 1998. Medieval fields in their many forms. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 31/10/11]

Keys to the Past. 2011. Ridge and Furrow. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 31/10/11]

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Horrible Histories vs The War of the Roses!

Horrible Histories: The War of the Roses

I am a HUGE fan of Horrible Histories (as are a few other members of the team) and so was delighted to find this image depicting ‘The War of the Roses’!

(Image borrowed from

Emily 🙂

Looking for venues

We’re in the first stages of planning next year’s event and are currently researching suitable venues. We are looking at various historical sites, and are especially interested in castles or sites that have a connection with the period we will be re-creating through drama and enactment – 1377-1485. Castles that have been visited by the royalty of that time are especially interesting… At the moment we seem to be tracking Richard III’s progress around the country! Of course, we also need grounds large enough to allow space for the Wars of the Roses re-enactments…

Any ideas? Email us or leave a comment!