Will & Co’s manifesto is to make Shakespeare more accessible, to let emotion speak through movement and rhythm, and to tell poetic and percussive stories.

Shakespeare For Everyone

Too long, too complicated, too boring, Shakespeare can seem daunting to any potential audience member today. But when Will was writing, his target was his fellow men and women: the ones who would scramble through mud and come to the playhouse behind the bear-beating pit to drink, eat nuts and hear a play. Will & Co is offering new stories around Shakespeare’s life, times and stories, to apprehend this myth of the world’s canon in an easy and direct way. Respecting the academic research and performance history studies, we adapt those to offer poetic, aesthetic and energetic shows with many layers of meaning, but always accessible to those who have never heard of Shakespeare just as well as to those who know it by heart.

Emotion in Movement

Victoria Baumgartner’s favorite work areas are the instincts, the rhythm, the body and its underlying messages, and the unsaid between the lines. Bringing all of this to the actors’ attention through her attentive and extensive work in rehearsals with movement and breath, she offers the audience and performers the  experience of taking part in something unique every show. Her attention to bodies, voice and clearly expressed emotions make for scenes full of tension and power play. For a moment, suspended in time, words become accessories, and the emotions and human rhythm are the main character of an ever-surprising and eternal moment.

Telling the Story

All the stories we tell are asking why we tell stories, where do stories come from, and are trying to answer these fundamental  questions. Our theatre aims to create emotional and intimate bonds with its audience. Working on thrust stages, adapting the places we visit when we need to, we like to offer this arena to our audience, for all the world’s a stage. And, for a brief instant, we all belong to that stage together. Our sets are bare, our accessories are kept to a minimum, while our costumes are beautifully embroidered and distinctively Elizabethan. We build worlds with words, and we’ll take you on a journey as far as your imagination, mingled with ours, will allow it.

Will or Eight Lost Years of William Shakespeare’s Life

England, 1585. The young Will Shakespeare is living in the peaceful town of Stratford-upon-Avon, in the heart of England with his newlywed wife, Anne. But something’s missing. He’s dreaming of prophecies, rough magic and words no one is able to find. As he starts following these dreams, life takes him on a journey, from under the protection of an immensely rich Lord to nights in brawl taverns with travelling actors. But Elizabethan England is not an easy place to thrive…

Find out the story of how Will became William Shakespeare through this play bursting with echoes to his future works, in between fantasies and reality.

Baumgartner’s firm belief in the power of poetry and well-placed emotional beats make Will a strangely fascinating work.
⭐️⭐️⭐️  The Stage

An engrossing play which over the course of eighty minutes (eight years in eighty minutes) does what Lord Reith declared ought to be the mission of the BBC: to inform, educate and entertain.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️  London Theatre 1

Just like any Shakespeare play, it is full of comedy and tragedy, and touches on universal and eternal themes.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️  Everything Theatre

Sam Veck, as Shakespeare, is a revelation.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️  The Spy in the Stalls

During its London run at the Rose Playhouse in Spring 2018, the play has been nominated for two Offies – Off West End Awards: Best Director for Victoria Baumgartner and Best Male in a Supporting Role for Ronnie Yorke.

The play was first performed for a four-week run in London at the Rose Playhouse, an Elizabethan playhouse’s archeological site converted into a theatre, where Shakespeare himself worked, from 27 March-21 April 2018. It then went on to its European tour in Sion, Switzerland on 12 & 13 October at Théâtre Interface and in Stuttgart, Germany on 17 & 18 November at Theater Tri-Bühne during the Europa Theater Treffen 2018!

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Press

Will – On Tour

Stuttgarter Zeitung, Germany: “Meaning on Stage” 20.11.18
“Baumgartner stages all this in a very lively manner, with music and improvised dancing. It is fresh and sometimes so movingly played that one feels a lump rising in one’s throat.

Stuttgarter Zeitung, Germany:  “The Tri-Bühne Theatre welcomes guests from all over the theatre world” 16.11.18

Stuttgarter Zeitung, Germany:  “A Festival with Woman Power!” 06.11.18

Le Nouvelliste, Switzerland: Les bons plans de la rédaction culturelle du Nouvelliste: Will

Judith & Hamnet

Victoria Baumgartner in Vertigo on Swiss national radio RTS – La 1ère pto talk about the Lausanne Shakespeare Festival and Judith & Hamnet!

Stuttgarter Zeitung, Germany: “Meaning on Stage” 20.11.18  “the grandiose 30-minute long “Judith & Hamnet””

Will in London

⭐️⭐️⭐️ The Stage
“Baumgartner’s firm belief in the power of poetry and well-placed emotional beats make Will a strangely fascinating work.”

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ London Theatre 1
“Everything about this show shouts top draw, top quality, top stuff.”
“An engrossing play which over the course of eighty minutes (eight years in eighty minutes) does what Lord Reith declared ought to be the mission of the BBC: to inform, educate and entertain.”

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The Spy in the Stalls
“Sam Veck, as Shakespeare, is a revelation.”
“A top notch cast”
“delighfully clever yet beguiling and moving”

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Everything Theatre
“very well written, seamless and captivating”
“Just like any Shakespeare play, it is full of comedy and tragedy, and touches on universal and eternal themes”
“Ronnie Yorke is exceptionally funny (I mean, really laugh out loud funny) as Richard Burbage.”

Victoria Baumgartner – Artistic Director & Founder

Career Conversations Podcast – Victoria Baumgartner: “Don’t settle for anything other than your dreams”, 20.12.18
Discover Victoria Baumgartner’s interview by Stefanie Ginster, PhD at the University of Lausanne, for her podcast project “Career Conversations: Triumphs and Struggles of High Achievers”

“Shakespeare, c’est viscéral” interview of Victoria Baumgartner for Plans cultes, by David Trotta

Victoria Baumgartner in “Cellulose” on Swiss National Radio Couleur 3, interviewed on Shakespeare by Salomé Kiner

RTS 1 – The show « Premier Rendez-vous » / “First Date” by Pauline Vrolix, with Victoria Baumgartner and the artist Maya Rochat

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Workshops

Will & Co.’s workshops aim to initiate the participants to an embodied approach of Shakespeare’s plays. We also offer workshops on Acting Shakespeare as well as general introductions to Shakespeare’s Life & Times.

It was a great experience for me: in only one morning, I’ve had the wonderful occasion to deal with Shakespearian texts and my body, to mix them together and see how connected they were. Thanks for everything!” – Jérémy, University student

What is our SHAKE Acting workshop method?

Our method is based on embodiment. Instead of focusing on Shakespeare’s words straight away, which is often the part that students are most reluctant, afraid or self-conscious about, we focus on the body.

We believe that the body is the best access point to Shakespeare’s words and plays, since they were only ever written to be performed and not read. We always start with a physical warm-up, and then move on to theatre games involving attention, movement, play, music, coordination, and group work. We also provide simple vocal warm-ups, as well as breathing and articulation techniques. These are easy to access and to implement, and make the iambic pentameter sound very immediate–not to mention the fact they perk up the students’ self-confidence about speaking in public!

When moving onto text work, we start by encouraging the students to move to a piece of music as the character they are playing. By starting with movement like this, we find that a door opens inside their body, through which all sorts of wonderful, powerful, Shakespearean characters are ready to burst through, speaking Shakespeare’s words effortlessly! From kings, to witches, to fools, we discover an entire array of Shakespeare’s renowned parts come alive in front of us.

On top of stage craft, we provide key information about Shakespeare’s life, times and works, and about the Elizabethan playhouses throughout our workshops.  Thus, the students come away with a blend of historical facts, voice and body exploration, and, of course, Shakespearean verse.

Not only do our workshops help the student understand their character, but allows the student to connect with what rings true for them, in their own voice, through Shakespeare’s writing.

“My students really, really enjoyed the way that the very well thought out workshop allowed them to have a completely new insight into Shakespeare’s universe and plays. We will welcome you again in a heartbeat!” Jean-Claude, High school teacher

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