Cambridge Experimental Theatre was an avant-garde theatre group founded by Richard Spaul in 1980, based at the Covent Garden Drama Centre and Studio. The company toured throughout Europe during the 1980s and frequently appeared at the Edinburgh Festival.

“…in the case of Cambridge Experimental Theatre, which toured Europe in the 1970s and 1980s performing Shakespeare with casts as small as two, the small size became part of an interpretative model (so that, for instance, Macbeth became a play about evil possession, performed only by Macbeth and a witch, while their four-actor Hamlet was a study in the dis-solution of the concept of the essentialist character)…” – from The Cambridge Companion To Shakespreare Onstage.

Notable productions




Dr. Faustus (1981)


Macbeth (1982)

Edinburgh Fringe Festival: Riddles Court
17 August – 11 September 1983
Director: Richard Spaul
Cast: Tim Pemberton, Becky Simpson, Richard Fredman

Othello (1983)

Edinburgh Fringe Festival: The Circuit
22 August – 10 September 1983
Director: Richard Spaul
Cast: Richard Fredman, Di King, Judith  Philips, Tim Pemberton

The Tempest

Sound design: Amber Priestley

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1986)

Monday, 10 – Tuesday, 11 March 1986
Kleines Theater, Salzburg

Wednesday, 2 July 1986
Théâtre Belluard Bollwerk

“Les 14 rôles de la comédie de Shakespeare sont interprétés par les 5 membres du Cambridge Experimental Theatre dans une version hésitant entre la sex-comédie et l’apologie poétique de l’amour et de l’amitié, “Le Songe d’une Nuit d’Eté”. Un décor d’un strict minimum et une durée (record) ramenée à moins de deux heures, le tout à la sauce du véritable humour anglais – un songe auquel même Shakespeare n’aurait pas pensé.”

Hamlet (1987)

Director: Roland Kenyon

From British Universities Film and Video Council:

“Cambridge Experimental Theatre’s Hamlet, adapted for the stage by Roland Kenyon, challenges the entrenched notions of naturalism, sanctity of text, one-man-one-part and the tragic male hero, in a production which combines a rigorous re-evaluation of Shakespeare’s text with the theatricality and spectacle of oriental theatre. A cast of four whisper, chant, dance and wrestle their way through the pre-occupations of a constantly shifting and fragmenting central character, providing a frightening commentary on the instability of the human personality.”

King Lear (1987)

Monday, 23 March 1987
Kleines Theater, Salzburg

9 – 30 August 1987
Edinburgh Festival 1987: Theatre ACT
Director: Roland Kenyon
Cast: Richard Spaul, Sara Waite, Clare Watson

Richard III (1991)

Edinburgh Fringe Festival: Marco’s Leaisure Centre
12 August – 31 August 1983
Director: Richard Spaul
Cast: Richard Spaul, Chris Sculthorpe, Brigid Zengeni

Macbeth (1991)

Thursday, 7 – Saturday, 9 November 1991
Innsbrucker Kellertheater

Pour Out My Heart Like Water (1996)


Matt Ray Brown

Ian Bruno

Richard Fredman

Debbie Isitt

Di King

Tim Pemberton

Judith  Philips

Amber Priestly

Lucy Richardson

Rebecca Simpson

Chris Sculthorpe

Richard Spaul

Bella Stewart

Tilda Swinton

Clare Watson

Sara Waite

Brigid Zengeni


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