The Manchester Shakespeare Company
The Manchester Shakespeare Company (MSC) was formed by Gina T Frost and John Topliff in 2013 at the Three Minute Theatre (3MT), Manchester. Their aim is to produce relevant, entertaining adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays aimed at new and diverse audiences. Utilising skills gained in their former careers as professional musicians, singers, musical theatre performers and college lecturers they produce popular, thought-provoking adaptations of Shakespeare's work set in the imaginary city of 'Mancia'. (See the Map!)
Entertainment is at the heart of all we do. Creativity is in everyone, but the opportunity to be creative is often limited by social and economic factors. We both come from working-class backgrounds and started our journey working in factories. We made our way into the world of professional music under our own steam and educated ourselves when we were able to afford it. Having talent is one thing, but it requires opportunity and nurturing to develop into a sustainable career. It is our mission to provide that platform for people of all abilities to grow and create. We want to pass on the knowledge and experience we have gained to encourage people to engage with the arts, create and enjoy their own abilities.
We come from the generation who wasted nothing: There wasn't much to waste when we were growing up. The concept of recycling isn't new to people of our age and we are constantly re-using and recycling everything from stage costumes and props to jokes! We built our own theatre (3MT) in Afflecks Manchester almost entirely from things we found, were given or rescued from city centre skips. The theatre seats at 3MT were salvaged from the old Aaben Cinema in Hulme and mounted on abandoned pallets. Scenery and props for our numerous productions were produced in the same way. Sustainability is at the core of our operation. We believe in the joy of creation on whatever scale it is achieved and the spiritual and intellectual growth that follows when the product of that creation is shared.
The reduction of the environmental impact of humans has never been so important and we believe that it applies to all human activity including theatre making.
We believe passionately that everybody is of equal worth and no-one should have fewer chances to participate in the creation of art because of their social status, disability or where they come from.
We are committed to promoting curiosity and creativity and providing recognition for talent and skills wherever and whenever they appear.
We believe Shakespeare's plays are for everyone, not just the few and we are determined to remove the barriers that prevent people from enjoying and engaging with them.
The company offers opportunities and real experience for graduates, emerging acting talent, apprentices and volunteers, collaborating with music students and academics to create vibrant, inclusive and entertaining ensemble performances.
The MSC offers opportunities and training in many different disciplines for students, creatives and anybody else interested in performance and theatre making. Whether you are neurodiverse or neurotypical, there are many roles within the company ensemble that will stimulate and challenge you. Roles include: performing, stage management, sound, light and music production, set and costume, video production, graphic design, sales, marketing and publicity. There are many roles that offer practical experience and training in theatre making and production utilising Gina and John’s many years of professional and academic experience.
12 Nights or WTF?
Listen to Gina and John talking about the origins of the Manchester Shakespeare Company
The first productions proved very popular and were premiered at 3MT before being presented to audiences in libraries, churches, public squares and at festivals in and around the northwest of England.
More recent productions include original plays relating to Shakespeare (Will and Anne) and a Shakespearian inspired Pantomime (Will Whittington and his Cat)
Find out more about the Gina and John and the MSC here:
In the post-covid world we now find ourselves in The MSC is looking forwards to being able to continue its journey with two new productions:
Summer Dreaming - The Musical!
‘A Different Island’. Taking Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ as its starting point, the play explores issues surrounding neurodiversity, social stigma and isolation, love and loneliness in a (not too distant) future world where difference is outlawed.