\October 23, 2006:
The CAPITAL Centre and Cheek by Jowl organized a workshop on Cymbeline for students, actors, educators, and company members. Over a four day period students were able to experience the full creative process of opening a play, and eventually were able to see the final product when Cheek by Jowl's Cymbeline performed in London a few months later. The CAPITAL Centre (Creativity and Performance in Teaching and Learning) was a collaboration between the University of Warwick and the Royal Shakespeare Company that ran from 2005-2010.
Tom Hiddleston had already been cast as Posthumus (and would eventually do a double role as Cloten as well) and Gwendoline Christie had also been chosen to play the Queen. So both of the future stars were among the actors who assisted in the pre-rehearsal rehearsal workshop with students at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon. The students had spent three-weeks before hand researching the play and creating a portfolio for the actors. Together they went over everything from script read throughs - to physical staging - to producing visual materials for the programmes. Tom even took inspiration from one of the students in how he would go on to approach his role “My Cloten – it’s all Chrissie!".
Cheek by Jowl is the international theatre company of Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod formed in 1981. The final cast for Cymbeline included Gwendoline Christie (Queen), Tom Hiddleston (Postumus/Cloten), Jodie McNee (Imogen), David Collings (Cymbeline), Richard Cant (Pisanio), Guy Flanagan (Iachimo), Laurence Spellman (Caius Lucius), Jake Harders (Doctor), John Macmillan (Guideruis), and more. The play had its first performance in Luxembourg and finished five months later in Madrid. You can see a pdf version for both the programme and playtext on their website.
Tom Hiddleston went on the win an Olivier Award for his performance in Cymbeline. In a later interview with The Guardian Nick Ormerod said: Tom was very keen to wear glasses as Posthumus; he had a slightly eager, intense quality. But as Cloten, who idiotically attempts to woo Imogen, he was pure clown. There’s a scene where he stands beneath Imogen’s window and sings “Hark, hark, the lark”, which we turned into a boyband number, with Tom singing and dancing. I forget whose idea it was, but it was brilliantly cringeworthy. He really went for it. You can also hear Tom Hiddleston talk about his time with Cheek by Jowl during his TimesTalks Madrid conversation.
Obviously Gwendoline Christie went on to star in the HBO series Game of Thrones. They reunited almost 10 years later at the 2016 Emmy Awards.
Tom also worked with John Macmillan again on the short film Friend Request Pending in 2011.
Credits:The CAPITAL Centre
Cheek by Jowl