Chicken Shop Shakespeare is a collective of filmmakers and actors based in Leeds and the North of England. We bring Shakespearean words and scenes to unexpected situations and environments.When we first started shooting Shakespeare in Chicken Cottage, all the lads in the street thought we were shooting a grime video. We felt the pieces had something… and it grew from there; working in new locations, bringing in a larger cast and learning about Shakespeare.
We feel Shakespeare’s work could be set anywhere – in a Neolithic village or on a space ship; the stories and characters are universal, yet unpredictable. Contemporary settings work because people have always been the same – being good, being bad, making mistakes, in chicken shops or castles, in BMW’s or on horseback.
This project has been about taking film-making and acting back to basics. We work in a guerrilla style with skeleton crew and no budget. We shoot in the street and our local area, because it is a space we have immediate access to. We like to work in local places with the people around us – we’re happy with background noise and public interaction. While this means that the short films are less polished than they could be, we hope this also gives them a rawness and immediacy that adds to their power. We make a point of not using costume, music, extras, or cuts. The clips are under 2 minutes so the online audience watch the whole piece. We’ve been getting some great feedback, from a wide range of people.
Chicken Shop Shakespeare has so far cost about £22, on train tickets and chicken. Moving forward we’re looking at exploring more issues that affect us; money, class, racism, drugs, violence, love. The ultimate goal would be to make a feature.View project