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Two BA (Hons) Acting students on stage at the Palace Court Theatre performing Macbeth. One actor in a military tunic and crown handles a medal while another actor in military fatigues watches.

Toil and trouble on tour: AUB takes Macbeth to Dorset schools

Photos by Steve Porter


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In a first for AUB Productions, students have taken a production of William Shakespeare’s iconic Macbeth around to secondary schools in Poole and Bournemouth, as well as wider Dorset and Hampshire areas.

Director Rohan Gotobed described the secondary school tour as “a wonderful choice by AUB,” saying, “Not only does this offer the students the opportunity to perform in front of large audiences around different schools, which is potentially the sort of work they'll be experiencing after graduation; it also means that we can be helpful to schools and young people in the area who don't know about AUB.

“So much of Shakespeare's writing revolves around treason and redemption,” Rohan continues. “I thought it’d be a shame to shirk away from this, and decided that we should put a great deal of trust in our young audience. When I was 13 or 14, I didn't want to be patronised; I wanted to see the sort of theatre that older teenagers and adults wanted to see.”

The two-week tour began with a performance at Arts University Bournemouth’s recent acquisition, the Palace Court Theatre in Bournemouth town centre. This performance took place before an invited audience on Monday 13 November.

“This was my first time performing in a dedicated theatre and throughout the day of being at the Palace Court, I was ecstatic,” says BA (Hons) Acting student and cast member Matthew Cook. “To have the chance to perform Macbeth in such a promising theatre space was nothing short of brilliant. Even after the play had concluded, I had such a buzz of energy thinking about future performances within the space.”

Following this, the play toured schools in the area such as Poole High School and Oak Academy, plus a two-day stint at The Burgate School in Fordingbridge.

Megan Jones, who plays the Second Witch, comments on the experience of working on a touring production:

“Everyone that we’ve performed to is studying Macbeth in either English or drama, so it feels like what we’re doing might be of great use to them. Actually seeing those characters alive, rather than just quotes on a page.

“When I was at school, I also studied Macbeth, so it feels like I’ve gone full circle. Secondary school was also the time that I fell in love with Shakespeare, so it feels really special that I get to perform for that age group and potentially play a role, no matter how significant, in making some of them fall in love or have a newfound appreciation for Shakespeare too.”

And while this production was directed at a secondary school audience, it required no less preparation from the actors for their roles. Robert Elson explains more on playing the role of Macduff:

“He’s a really physical character and it requires stamina on stage to keep up with his presence. In preparation for the physical nature of Macduff, plenty of physical exercise over the summer went towards preparation for this role.

“Macduff and I both have the honour of being from Scotland so it was easier for me to identify with his love for the country, as well as his fury as he watches it fall to ruin in the hands of Macbeth. Without understanding Macduff’s position, motives and his own history, bringing out the emotions of the character would’ve proven impossible.”

AUB Productions shows are the result of cross-course collaborations between the BA (Hons) Acting, Costume, Make-up for Media and Performance, and Performance Design and Film Costume disciplines, with a programme of shows playing across the academic year.

Macbeth ran from 13–24 November 2023.

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