Shake(speare) It Off!

Shake(speare) It Off! is a cabaret for young people by artists Claire Willoughby and Alice Mary Cooper, and was commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company and PILOT Nights for their PILOT Sites event.

“Don’t police my body, don’t play my part – I’ll be the watchwoman of my heart. It’s mine to risk, just let me start – I’ll be the watchwoman of my heart!”


Taking the character of Ophelia from Hamlet as our key inspiration, we created a number of pop-up performances around the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, exploring modern day pop heroines and MTV music videos as a way of accessing Ophelia’s different states of mind, and offering insight into a previously passive and silent voice. Using clowning, live song and interactive performance, we referenced Taylor Swift’s Trouble and Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance to document Ophelia’s journey through the play – from stubborn love-lorn teenager, to spurned neo-gothic zombie, brought back from the dead to lament her treatment by all the men in Hamlet.

Shake(speare) It Off! will continue it's development over the next year, as we play with the idea of Shakespeare in Schools and the ways in which we can explore character and theme through pop culture references and current issues.