440 theatre is a theatre company directed by Dom Gee-Burch and produced by Laura Sillett. The company aims to entertain audiences by producing engaging and energetic condensed pieces of Shakespeare's plays into 40 minute stints, and only using four actors. 440 theatre brings their production of Macbeth and Romeo & Juliet on a UK tour, incorporating comedy and fun in order to make Shakespeare's work accessible and enjoyable for all. We took the opportunity to speak to 440 to find out more.
Q) Can you tell us a little bit more about your theatre company and what you do?
We are four actors who perform two forty minute Shakespeare productions, as comedies, in 40 minutes each.
Q) What inspired you to form this theatre company and what in particular has inspired you to focus on Shakespeare’s work?
As a director, I’ve worked with another fabulous company called 'Oddsocks' who have been touring for over 30 years. They introduced me to injecting the truth of comedy into Shakespeare years ago and back in 2020 it felt like the right time to get together with some friends and make our own work combining our skills in comedy, improv, music and performance.
Q) What challenges have you faced creating a theatre company and what words of wisdom do you have for those wanting to pursue a career in the industry?
You need to learn to love the times you’re not performing. 95% of my job is spent on the laptop. Producing is not something I ever thought I’d be passionate about but as the company grows it’s more addictive. You need to understand what you have as a business. Whether it’s a show or simply yourself as a self employed actor. Know who you are and what you can offer and then go out and tell everyone about it. Just don’t try and do or be something that you’re not. You’ll be wasting your time.
Q) Your productions incorporate some audience participation. Can you tell us about one of your favourite or funniest moments involving audience participation?
Ah there’s so many. My favourite part is in Macbeth where an audience member participates in Macduffs decapitation masterclass - it’s in the text honest! You never know who you’re going to pick so it keeps me on my toes.
Q) What are you hoping audiences take away from your productions?
Laughter. That’s all we want. Embrace being silly.
Q) What can audiences expect from one of your productions?
Outdoor Shakespeare with a difference. We’re young and hungry and not afraid to add a twist to your traditional Shakespeare experience!
440 Theatre brings their production to UK venues regularly. For more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.