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24th & 25th July 2021

"Imagination Bodies Forth" - With this wonderful, visceral quote Shakespeare invites us to perceive the imaginative instinct as a force that can erupt into something tangible, potent, sensate, human.

In this, our inaugural ShakespeareMoves Short Film Festival, we invited actors, dancers and theatre makers to explore fresh imaginative and creative territory by creating short contemporary films in response to Shakespeare.

To encourage a proudly diverse, eclectic and personal array of responses, the artists could take any moment, theme, motif, or character in Shakespeare that resonated for them, and film using just a smartphone, in any location.

We sought vivid textured work that revelled in fusing a rich theatre artistry with the sensory intimacy of the screen. The films we chose for the festival are a joyous collision of contemporary dance, physical theatre, original music, thoughtful insights and of course extraordinary words. The result is a sensitive yet robust contemporary conversation with Shakespeare, characterised by a striking poetic sensibility, and a delicious relish of the theatrical potential of the digital medium.

Alongside the films screenings we are thrilled to be hosting a rehearsed reading of a new verse play by actor and writer Juliana Liscio, which arose out of her explorations in our ShakepeareMoves CREATE workshops, and whose work we are proud to support.

We are also delighted to be partnering with Too Much About Nothing Podcast, who will be hosting Q&A's with our artists.

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Tickets to include entry into all or any of the weekend events. Come and go as you please, discover exhilarating work by both emerging artists and established professionals, and plug into our "Imagination Bodies Forth" conversation via the live chat.


Artists include:

Robin Bisio Films (Subtle Body)

Katie Burke (Henry Weeps and Margaret Dies)

Sarah Chabin (Fool Fools Fooled)

Elise Ellul (Suffocation)

Katherine Hall & Hunter Johns (Recallest Thy Youth)

Juliana Liscio (Lady Percy Will Not Sing (a problem play in verse) *a trailer*)

Melle Lowenthal & Adelaide Green (The Hotel)

Charlotte Simone & John Jones (witness)

Tempest Trio (Thunder Above and Deeps Below)

Kate Threlfall (Sweet)

Sarah Vella and Brian Pertti (Probablemente)


ShakespeareMoves Summer Intensive

The Tempest (re-imagined)
12th July - 16th July    |    2pm - 8pm (London Time)    |    Online via Zoom


Melle Lowenthal in Make Such Unquiet. Short film inspired by Pericles during Summer Intensive 2020

We are thrilled to announce our second ShakespeareMoves Summer Intensive! 

This is a week-long online opportunity to train with us as part of an international ensemble of theatre artists, and will result in the thrilling creation of an original short film.

This year we will be exploring The Tempest, a Shakespeare play that gloriously celebrates all things theatre -  magic, transformation, identity, loss, love, and liberty.

The focus of the week will be to create an experimental short film inspired by The Tempest, using our unique fusion of text and movement.

The film created during the Summer Intensive will form part of ShakespeareMoves film festival on 24th/25th July.

What can you expect?

  • To be inspired, challenged, and supported through a fresh exploration of one of Shakespeare’s plays, through text and movement sessions.

  • To foster close mutually respectful work with an open and curious international ensemble.

  • To strengthen and empower your sense of yourself as a creative artist, through a heightened responsiveness to the play,  and by drawing on your own rich imaginative resource and that of the ensemble.

  • To be part of making an experimental and collaborative short film, which will be guaranteed a showing to an international audience in our upcoming short film festival 'Imagination Bodies Forth'.

  • To be led through exercises and tasks designed to empower you as a digital artist, by heightening your understanding of framing, perspective, texture, colour, light, and relationship to the camera and microphone. 

  • To inhabit Shakespeare’s language and to discover new ways of releasing meaning through movement under expert guidance.


How do I take part?

  • You must be 16 years +

  • Ensure you have read the course overview thoroughly.

  • Fill in the application form including artist statement.

  • Upload your self - tape creative response to the play.

  • Deadline for submitting the application is midnight 7th July.

Frequently asked questions

I'm not very experienced at Shakespeare - does that matter? 
Not at all! You will be expertly guided through the text, and whatever your level Zoë will respond to your needs and help you release the words with increased playfulness and confidence.

Do I need to be an experienced dancer or mover to take part? 
Again, no! Maria loves to work with movers of all abilities, and our previous participants have gained huge confidence and skill by doing our courses. 

Do I need specialist camera equipment to film myself? 
No, just your phone! We only ask that you come to each session with your phone charged and ready to go. We will teach you how to film in beautiful and creative ways. 

Isn't it difficult to feel like an ensemble if we are all on Zoom? 
We completely understand this worry, but in fact one of the things participants have commented upon most is how connected they felt as an ensemble. We put a lot of thought into this and have many ways to help the group bond and work together with real warmth and generosity. 

Is there any room for me to express myself as a musician or artist during the course? 
Yes! There is a huge amount of flexibility in terms of how you express yourself through your work with us. We love to have music, song, sound design and artwork as part of the film we create. 

Do we spend all the hours of the week on Zoom? 
Actually no. The course is conducted on Zoom (which enables us to have a truly international ensemble) but we structure the sessions so you all have time away from the screen when you go off to film small tasks that we set up. This could mean filming in your home or outside space for example. 

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How does Shakespeare move us? 

How might we move in response to Shakespeare? 

As we move in time ever further from Shakespeare, how can we keep an urgent, inventive vitality reverberating in the space between us?

Who are we?

ShakespeareMoves is a physical theatre collective, founded in 2020 by performers Maria Cassar and Zoë Waites. The company is based in London, but has an international reach. We run online workshops for theatre-makers all over the world. Our work is inspired by an experimental fusion of Shakespeare and contemporary dance practice. 


Maria is a Laban trained contemporary dancer and movement artist. Zoë is a RADA trained actor and theatre director. Between us we have four decades of performance experience in a diverse array of prestigious theatre venues all over the world. 


We are also experienced and passionate teaching artists. Currently we are the lead Movement and Acting Shakespeare tutors on the MA/MFA in Actor Performer Training at Rose Bruford School of Acting. We also worked together at London Dramatic Academy (for Fordham University New York) for six years. Amongst multiple other appointments Maria is a seasoned dance practitioner for RAD, and Zoë is a long-standing Teaching Associate at RADA. 

What drives us?

We wanted to see what would happen if we collided our respective disciplines of classical text and contemporary dance. What kind of new work could we make together? And could we create unique training opportunities for emerging practitioners by letting our practices coalesce and spark off one another?

How do we work?

We run online workshops. We make short films using phones. We respond to old stories in new ways. 

We take Shakespeare’s extraordinary words and ideas as a starting point. Then through a unique series of movement and acting exercises we generate imaginative and arresting new work on film.  


In our workshops we connect with participants all over the world. We welcome actors, dancers, movers, writers, musicians - artists of all sorts. 


By using an online space, we have been able to attract an international collective of emerging theatre makers. We are excited to continue growing and diversifying this community, where artists can collaborate and support one another in ways unimaginable before Zoom.


The responsiveness to our working methods has been uplifting. Participants love being part of a hugely generous ensemble that is geographically separated but artistically aligned. 

What have  we done so far?

So far, as well as regularly delivering our signature workshops CRAFT and CREATE, we have run our first week-long ShakepeareMoves Summer Intensive. Working with an international ensemble of actors and dancers (all working in isolation) we devised, shot and edited our first film Make Such Unquiet, inspired by Shakespeare’s haunting wonder-tale Pericles. This film was subsequently awarded a further international screening at dance-on-film festival Constructed Sight. This coming July 2021 we are curating our own ShakespeareMoves Short Film Festival : ‘Imagination Bodies Forth.’

Maria Cassar

Trained at Laban

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Maria trained at the Johane Casabene Dance Conservatoire in Malta. She graduated with a Ba(Hons) Dance Theatre from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Maria is a dance practitioner, choreographer and movement director.

Maria believes that movement is an instinct. Her ethos as a dance practitioner is an inclusive one and she strives to make movement accessible to all. She has worked with dancers, actors, intergenerational groups and people with physical/learning disabilities.

Maria has danced for choreographers such as Tom Dale, Kerry Nicholls, Theo Clinkard, Kristina Sommerlade, Mavin Khoo, James Wilton and Sue Goodman. 

In 2009 Maria founded RedTape Dance Company. Since then her work has been shown at the Bonnie Bird Theatre, Notte Bianca Malta, BluePrint Festival, Crystal Palace Arts Festival, Resolutions! London Bridge Live Arts, Sydenham Arts Festival, Ziguzajg International Youth Festival, Sadlers Wells, The London Palladium, Her Majesty’s Theatre, The Albany Theatre, Deptford, O2 Indigo, Malta Arts Festival, Intransit Festival, The Tabernacle, Royal Festival Hall, Hampton Court Palace and Tower of London.

Maria has been the recipient of the Malta Arts Fund and Malta Cultural Export Fund. She has been a recipient of Kensington and Chelsea Arts Grant and Greenshoots fund for dance work within the North Kensington youth community, in the aftermath of the Grenfell Fire.

Maria is a founder of Tip Top Dance School in North Kensington, inclusive practitioner with Tavaziva Dance Company, and a regular dance practitioner for the Royal Academy of Dance. Maria co-founded Shakespeare Moves with Zoë Waites, an international Shakespeare and Contemporary dance initiative. Maria has worked as a Laban Movement Analysis lecturer on the London Dramatic Arts course at Fordham University. Maria has recently  been invited to become a Movement Tutor on the MA in Actor Performer Training at Rose Bruford University.

Zoë Waites

Trained at RADA

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Zoë trained at RADA and is a British stage, television and radio actor with a distinguished theatre career. As a teaching artist she has spent two decades working with students from all over the world on acting Shakespeare. 


Shortly after graduating Zoë played Juliet for the Royal Shakespeare Company, for which she was nominated for the Ian Charleson Award for Outstanding Performance in a Classical Role. Multiple leading roles for the company followed, including Desdemona in Othello, Mary in The Family Reunion, and Viola in Twelfth Night (winner 2nd prize Ian Charleson) alongside new plays The Prisoner’s Dilemma and Night Of The Soul, and latterly Mrs Frail in Love For Love. Performances were in Stratford, London, on tour throughout the UK, internationally across Europe, Japan, Singapore, South America, and at BAM in New York.


Zoë has also worked in America playing Rosalind in As You Like It for the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington DC. Prior to that she was Goneril to Jonathan Pryce’s King Lear at the Almeida, and most recently Cassius in an acclaimed Julius Caesar for Sheffield Crucible Theatre.


Her other work includes a diverse variety of leading roles in almost every major repertory theatre in the UK, as well as in London’s West End, off-West End, notable fringe venues, and an international residency in Toronto with the award-winning Chichester Festival’s Nicholas Nickleby. She has done several prestigious world premieres including Edward Albee’s The Play About The Baby, Sir Trevor Nunn’s production of Birdsong, and the 24 hour Sixty-Six Books at the Bush.


Zoë has most recently been seen on television in the Netflix series Cursed


Zoë is an Associate Artist at RADA as well as serving on their Audition Panel. She is the Associate Lecturer for Acting Shakespeare on the MA in Actor Performer Training at Rose Bruford, where she also directed Julius Caesar in September 2020. Other teaching includes Drama Centre London, BADA, FSU, and LDA Fordham. She is a founder member of the Creative Learning Panel for Digital Theatre Plus. 

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