For three times now over the past six or seven years, just as Summer has been flourishing on the earth, FOUR OF SWORDS has led its audiences into the underworld of BEER QUARRY CAVES for their own incarnation of The Scottish!
This subterranean production presents the Witches as Viking priestesses, analogues of the Norns, or Spirits of Destiny, who guide the audience through the labyrinthine caverns of Macbeth’s homicidal ambition.
The show features Shamanic techniques, haunting live music, gruesome film projections, Icelandic chanting, a splash or two of gore and even some Highland sword-dancing!
The company deserve huge applause – there were strong performances all round with too many stand-out moments to describe.
Anna Marks, Remotegoat
The connected caves – complete with bats – echo with a constant drip-drip-drip, perfectly conjuring the chill dankness of a medieval Scottish castle.
Belinda Dillon, Exeunt Magazine
A fantastic experience. I have finally ‘got’ Shakespeare and now want to see more, having resisted it for years. The production was incredible – so intense and absorbing.
We have just got home after watching your performance of Macbeth at Beer quarry caves. We were totally blown away by it. I love going to the theatre but that was one of the best performances I’ve seen. My husband isn’t a keen theatre person but absolutely loved it.
We are both COMPLETE Shakespeare virgins (managed to avoid the whole subject at school.) Now at the ripe old age of 40+ we thought ‘there must be something to this Shakespeare thing’. You didn’t disappoint. Just wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed the performance. We enjoyed the whole thing, the candles, the acting, the tragedy of it all. I have since ordered myself a copy of Macbeth to read, so there’s testament to my enjoyment.
I thought your interpretation of the play was really strong, with some great acting. I very much liked the way you used the witches as guides and the Norse connection. The setting was extraordinary and really added to intensity of the play and its elemental quality! Great use of digital projection too. Well done!
Pippa Warin, Arts Council
I felt as if I were actually in the play rather than simply observing it. It was one of those ‘Do you remember when…’ nights that will be recalled in conversation over the years.
It was absolutely brilliant! The atmosphere you managed to create was so good, I can’t put it into words! It really felt like as soon as we were in the caves, we had been transported back to the 1600s! Everything was perfect- the setting, the candles, the eerie music, everything. And the acting was absolutely phenomenal!
Emily, aged 15
SCHOOLS “PANTO” VERSION!!
FOUR OF SWORDS’ humorous, interactive, multi-media version of MACBETH has been our flagship schools product. We have visited a number of schools in the South West between Exeter and Bristol and has performed to 1,000 students.
The best Impact Day we’ve ever had.
Teacher feedback, St Peter’s, Exeter
COLLABORATION WITH CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
On the back of one of our schools performances, we were approached by Cambridge University Press to participate in the development of digital resources to accompany and support the teaching of MACBETH at GCSE. We are extremely excited to report that this has subsequently been picked up by the AQA Examinations Board and looks set to be rolled out nationally.
Between our vision of what classroom resources could be like and the Swords’ pioneering take on heritage texts, we have the best package of material I have ever been privileged to work on.
Martin Phillips, ex-Chief Examiner and Project Co-ordinator
FOUR OF SWORDS’ MACBETH promotional photos by Matt Austin / artwork by Philip Kingslan John / show photos by Four of Swords: