Dame Janet Suzman DBE
“Having Flute Theatre at the Orange Tree has enhanced our programme in a unique way. Our mission statement talks of wanting to change lives but it’s rare to see this happen in front of your eyes. Kelly Hunter’s work has a truly transformative effect on the young people who participate and on their parents and carers. It’s also transforms all those who come into contact with it in the building: “inclusivity” takes on a palpable, profoundly moving meaning once you’ve experienced Flute at work.”
Paul Miller, Artistic Director, Orange Tree Theatre
“The silence and calm was magical. It felt almost religious, as though a sacred space had been created, within which something transformative was happening”.
Parent of Tim (18)
Flute was set up in 2014 to create productions of Shakespeare for inclusive audiences. We specialise in international touring, performing at major European festivals as well as partnering with Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond and Teatre Lliure in Barcleona with our pioneering productions for children with autism and their families. Our productions are targeted toward the widest possible audience, encompassing all ages and languages by defying traditional expectations of Shakespeare. We have two ways of making our work; both are immersive and intimate.
The first strips away the pomp and ceremony of Shakespeare’s plays to reveal the essence of their humanity with fresh, original theatricality. Hamlet and Twelfth Night are made in this way and both made their world premieres at international festivals. Hamlet began in Poland at the Gdansk Shakespeare Festival in 2015 and Twelfth Night premiered in Spain at The Festival de Teatro Clasico de Almagro in 2017. Hamlet continued to tour to the major European Shakespeare festivals, performing in Romania, Denmark, Germany and Spain as well as a four week run in London’s West End. Twelfth Night will be touring the European festivals during Spring/Summer 2018. The experience of sharing Shakespeare with diverse audiences across the world is essential to Flute’s way of working.
The second method goes even deeper into the essence of Shakespeare to create productions specifically for children with autism and their families. The foundation of these productions is the Hunter Heartbeat Method created by Artistic Director Kelly Hunter.
HHB is the result of 15 years of Hunter’s working with children on the spectrum, giving her a unique position of skill and expertise. She places this gained wisdom at the centre of Flute’s groundbreaking productions.
The Tempest was created in 2014 and has toured internationally ever since, performing for children with autism and their families in the UK, USA and Spain, in English, Spanish and Catalan. In Autumn 2017 we created A Midsummer Night’s Dream, our second show for children with autism in co-production with the Orange Tree Theatre.
“I was blown away by the sensitive performance of the group of dedicated and highly knowledgeable actors who managed to immerse and involve a group of adolescents with severe autism in their creative interpretation of the Tempest. I think very highly of the work of Flute Theatre and thoroughly recommend their approach. It is a wonderful contribution to a more holistic education of individuals with autism, and it would seem to be applicable at all ages and all abilities, including those without language.”
Uta Frith DBE
The Tempest was created as a co-production with the Royal Shakespeare Company and Ohio State University. The production is made specifically for an audience of children with autism and their families. The show has performed in the UK, US and Spain where it has been translated into Spanish and Catalan. In London it has performed at the Bloomsbury Festival, the Festival of Love, Southbank Centre and the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond.
In March 2017, we took the show to Teatre Lliure in Barcelona, working with La Kompanyia Lliure and children from the Centre d’Educació Especial Montserrat Montero. The performance was in Catalan for an audience of friends and families. We will be returning in April 2018 with A Midsummer Night’s Dream to continue this unique collaboration.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream made its U.S debut at Heart of America Shakespeare in Kansas City in January 2018 and is now heading back to London in March 2018 for a week’s run at the brand new Bridge Theatre in Southwark before returning to Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond in the Autumn.
Twelfth Night made its world premiere at the Festival de Teatro Clasico de Almagro at Teatro La Veleta in Spain on July 25th 2017 as part of the Almagro OFF and performed again in London at the Bonnington Squared Festival on September 4th 2017.
Hamlet was created in 2015 as a co-production with English Touring Theatre. It has performed in Poland, Romania, Germany, Spain and at Kronborg Castle, Elsinore in Denmark. In December 2016 the production played a sold out run for four weeks at Trafalgar Studios in London.
Company Stage Manager
Jane Claire OBE (Chair)
Kelly Hunter and Emma Richards
Limited Company Number 9303847
Registered Charity Number 1163705
Thanks to the David and Claudia Harding Foundation
Thanks to Children in Need
Many thanks to all our Flute Angels who have made our work possible!
Flute is an Associate Company of English Touring Theatre