This essay considers the rehearsal processes and productions that might be created by working with Shakespeare in non-theatrical space, and the meanings that might be produced by privileging space alongside (or even over) text and character in Shakespeare production. It argues that early modern drama lends itself particularly to such practices due to its material origins, in which acting companies such as Shakespeare's toured and performed at court as well as in the London theatres, meaning that their work, though generated with particular theatre buildings in mind, also had to be adaptable to a range of non-theatrical spaces. The essay suggests that the radically different rehearsal practices of the early modern period - in which anything approaching the modern sense of ensemble practice only took place in the theatre, in front of an audience - produced plays with a particular openness to space, architecture and audience: qualities that are, today, emphatically on display at Shakespeare's Globe in London. While acknowledging that the practical and economic considerations of today's rehearsal practices mean that most Shakespearean work is produced and rehearsed away from the site where it is eventually performed, encouraging particular kinds of discursive and hermeneutic practices in which text is privileged of text over space in the production of meaning, the essay argues not for "original practices" in Shakespeare rehearsal but rehearsal processes in which the material presence and the historically accrued meanings of the performance space make meaning of and intrude upon the text, as Shakespeare's work was bound to do.
Shakespeare,Rehearsal,Site-specific,Original practice,Acting,Space,Globe Theatre,Hermeneutics,Dominic Dromgoole,Coriolanus