Published online by Cambridge University Press: 09 July 2015
In this wide-ranging interview of 25 November 2014, Polly Teale, writer, director, and Artistic Director of UK-based Shared Experience theatre company, reflects on her stage adaptations of literary works, the lives of their authors, and the processes of adapting texts between genres. Founded in 1975 by Mike Alfreds, Shared Experience has toured internationally from Sydney to Beijing with highly physical stage adaptations of literary texts and biographies that express the inner lives of complex and fascinating characters. Teale discusses the adaptation of her play Brontë to a screenplay, Shared Experience’s upcoming production of Mermaid, and rehearsal strategies she uses to encourage actors to explore the subjective truths that lie beneath the surface of their characters. Besides Brontë, past productions have included Jane Eyre, The Mill on the Floss, and After Mrs Rochester. Shared Experience was recently awarded a £105,000 grant by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and has won several theatre awards including Time Out’s Live Award for Best Play in the West End (2004) and an Edinburgh Fringe First Award (2010). Rebecca Waese is a lecturer and researcher in Creative Arts and English at La Trobe University, Melbourne. She is co-writing a book on Polly Teale and has previously written on interdisciplinary adaptations and dramatic modes in Australian and Canadian literature.
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