Outrageous Fortune is an original play inspired by the story of Hamlet, told through the eyes of his mother, Gertrude, an ambitious new theatre performance inspired by Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Gertrude: Wife. Mother. Queen of Denmark. A mature, experienced woman whose power and intelligence is ridiculed by the men around her. In the 400 years since Hamlet was written, what, if anything, has changed.
Outrageous Fortune is a collaboration with internationally renowned director/clowning expert John Wright and music producer, DJ and experimental kit drummer Luke Harney.
Welcome to purgatory. Where everything we know about Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude, is torn apart, reimagined and reclaimed for the 21st century in a funny, fierce and joyful act of revolution. There’ll be tea. There’ll be a visit from Joan of Arc. There’ll be a live drum score.
Fusing original narrative and Shakespearian verse with physicality and cacophonous sound, award-winning performance storyteller Debs Newbold places Shakespeare’s iconic text under a modern-day lens to offer an alternative perspective; putting a woman front and centre in this notorious story of male revenge: “Gertrude would have loved the chance to tell her story. In Hamlet, Shakespeare hardly lets her speak. Well now, she’ll have me. And a drum kit. So, she can make as much noise as she likes.”
Debs Newbold is one of the UK’s leading performance storytellers, creating fresh, playful work that can get deep under the skin. Her charisma and innovation has seen her work with prestigious venues such as the Royal Opera House, the Southbank Centre and Shakespeare’s Globe among many other theatres and festivals both in the UK and internationally.
Twice voted one of the top five performers at the Towersey Festival (the only theatre artist in its fifty-year history ever to achieve this), Principal Storyteller for Shakespeare’s Globe and Winner of the Summerhall Acting Award at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe, Debs – collaborator & instigator, word wrangler & crowd tamer – is a Brummie force of nature. And she makes a good cup of tea.
Newbold said: “I am fascinated by all of Shakespeare’s women, but Gertrude is the one I have been thinking about most. I can’t wait to get into the rehearsal room with John Wright – it’s always an explosion of ideas when we get together – and diving headfirst into Hamlet is something I have wanted to do for a long time. I am so chuffed to have the support of Square Chapel, Greenwich Theatre, Harrogate Theatre, York Theatre Royal and Arts Council England, too. All that and a massive drum kit – how could I not be excited?”